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Debunking the Stuttering Myths from India

Stuttering is a speech problem characterized by involuntary prolongations and repetitions of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases, as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks that hinder the stutterer to utter sounds. The disorder can be confusing due to unexpected variations in fluency and lack of abnormalities in the oral peripheral mechanism. This mystery often leads to assumptions regarding the source of stuttering and potential treatment options. Since the Vedic era, stuttering has been addressed in India, where it is mistakenly believed to be a curse or a condition given by God. In India, there is an alarming misconception regarding the causes and treatments of stuttering. Every person can encounter someone who stutters at some point in their everyday lives, making stuttering an increasingly common problem that appears to be worsening. Thus, this blog may serve as a valuable resource for informing people regarding the facts about stuttering. The following are a few myths and facts regarding the causes, traits, and treatments of stuttering

Myths and Facts on causes of stuttering

  • Myth: Tickling the child too much leads to stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect, tickling or playing with the child never causes stuttering.
  • Myth: Bacteria/Virus or Ghost is the cause of stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect. Bacteria/Virus/Ghost is not the cause for stuttering.
  • Myth: Cutting the child’s hair before he/she says his/her first words leads to stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect. Cutting the child’s hair will never affect the child’s speech.
  • Myth: Stuttering caused by a pregnant mother witnessing a snake.
    Fact: Incorrect. It does not make any difference in the child’s development.
  • Myth: Short tongue causes stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect. Stuttering is not caused by tongue length. Either way, articulation can be affected.

Myths and Facts on traits of stuttering

  • Myth: People who stutter are not as clever as others.
    Fact: Incorrect. There is no link between stuttering and the child’s intelligence.
  • Myth: Stuttering is caused by a lack of self-confidence.
    Fact: Lack of confidence or self-esteem never causes stuttering; yet it can make you fearful of stuttering in front of others, in a classroom situation, etc.
  • Myth: Stuttering is seen only in children.
    Fact: No, it can be seen in any age range.
  • Myth: Stuttering is a normal part of a child’s speech development.
    Fact: Stuttering is a speech disorder. It is not considered to be part of normal speech development.

Myths and Facts on treatment of stuttering

  • Myth: Keeping a pebble under your tongue helps to get rid of stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect. Only speech therapy helps to get rid of stuttering.
  • Myth: There is no treatment for stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect. Speech therapy helps cure stuttering.
  • Myth: Medicines and Surgeries can cure stuttering.
    Fact: Incorrect. No medication or surgeries can cure stuttering.
  • Myth: It is best to ignore stuttering completely.
    Fact: Individuals who stutter are aware that they have a speech problem. It is best to seek guidance and assistance from a speech-language pathologist rather than pretending it does not exist.
  • Myth: Treatment for stuttering is boring, slow and too hard.
    Fact: Treatment should never be boring. Speech Pathologists aim to make treatment as enjoyable as possible. Some treatments may take time and be hard for some people; however, it is successful if the person is willing to work.

Ms. Vasupradaa Manivannan
Assistant Professor,
Department of Speech Language Pathology,
JSS Institute of Speech & Hearing,