Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder

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Childhood-onset fluency disorder, commonly referred to as stuttering, is classified as a disruption in an individual’s ability to verbally express themselves due to involuntary movements of the tongue, repetition, or abnormal pronunciation or sounds. Stuttering is used to define both the disorder and the observed symptoms. Causes and treatments for stuttering have varied throughout history, however current research supports biological and genetic causes. An important distinction must be made between childhood-onset fluency disorders, which is medically seen as persistent developmental symptoms, and acquired stuttering. Idiopathic or neurogenic causes, the most common of which are stroke or traumatic brain injuries, are the most cited sources of acquired stuttering. Childhood-onset fluency disorder, however, is present from an early age and is considered to be more consistent, meaning that the same syllables are often mispronounced (typically towards the beginning of a word or phrase) and there is a high association between the diagnoses of stuttering and anxiety. In some cases developmental stuttering can be the result of brain lesions during childhood but if it occurs during early development the diagnoses and onset of the stuttering will follow the same trajectory as childhood-onset fluency disorder (Buchel & Sommer, 2004).

History is filled with individuals who were known or thought to have suffered from stuttering. Historians hypothesize that Moses, a prominent figure in the Old Testament, had a speech impediment. This is based on scripture that describes him as suffering from slow speech and inadequate tongue function, attributes that Moses confesses will make him an inadequate speaker and leader. Oth...

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