Fluency Disorders


What is a Fluency Disorder?

A fluency disorder is a disorder that affects the continuity, smoothness, rate, and effort of speech. Stuttering is the most common fluency disorder and is characterized as an interruption in the flow of speaking, affecting the rate and rhythm of speech. Another type of fluency disorder is cluttering, which is characterized by a rapid speech rate, resulting in poor speech clarity.

How to Recognize Stuttering

If you repeat sounds and/or words uncontrollably when you speak, you may be a person who stutters. There are different kinds of stuttering that someone might experience

  • Part-word repetitions – "I **w-w-w-**want a drink."
  • One-syllable word repetitions – "Go-go-go away."
  • Prolonged sounds – "Ssssssssam is nice."
  • Blocks or stops – "I want a (pause) cookie."

Other behaviours associated with stuttering may occur:

  • Physical movements like head nodding or eye blinking. Sometimes people who stutter use these behaviors to stop or keep from stuttering.
  • Interjections like 'umm' or swear words to "wait out" the stuttering moment
  • Avoidance behaviours like switching words or staying silent to avoid using a specific word.

How to Recognize Cluttering

People who clutter, don't realize they clutter. If you or someone you know speaks really fast, you may be someone who clutters. Cluttering also results in collapsed syllables, called telescoping: E.g., A word like 'spaghetti' might turn into 'spetti'.

Treatment of Fluency Disorder

Stuttering can be a complex disorder that requires a variety of treatment approaches depending on the individual. A common misconception is that stuttering is a result of social anxiety. In reality, social anxiety can be a consequence of a lifetime of stuttering and social situations can make stuttering behaviours more severe. Treatment for fluency disorders is highly individualized. It is based on in-depth assessment of speech fluency, language factors, emotional/attitudinal components, and life impact. By creating a treatment plan and setting goals, a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) can work with clients with appropriate stimuli and techniques geared towards the sensitivities and preferences of each individual.

We want you to be able to share your message confidently, knowing people will be paying attention to what you’re saying, not how you’re saying it. Book an assessment to start understanding your fluency disorder, and gain confidence in your communication.