What is a Fluency Disorder? & What Causes it?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is a Fluency Disorder?

A fluency disorder is a type of speech disorder that affects the flow, rhythm, and timing of speech. People with fluency disorders may have difficulty speaking smoothly, and their speech may be interrupted by repetitions of sounds, syllables, or words, prolongations of sounds, or blocks in which the person is unable to produce any sound at all. The most well-known type of fluency disorder is stuttering, which is characterized by frequent repetitions, prolongations, or blocks of sounds or words. Another type of fluency disorder is cluttering. Fluency disorders can have a significant impact on a person’s communication, social interactions, and quality of life. Treatment for fluency disorders may include speech therapy, counseling, and other interventions to help the person improve their communication skills and manage the psychological and emotional impact of the disorder. [1]

What causes a fluency disorder?

When we’re talking about developmental fluency disorder, that is a highly debated topic, of which, most clinicians would agree that we don’t know. The exact causes of fluency disorders are not known, but it is believed that genetic factors may play a role as it may run in families. Now why did I make sure to write developmental fluency disorder? Well, because there is another category for acquired fluency disorders. Here is both:

A developmental fluency disorder is a type of fluency disorder that typically starts during childhood and persists into adulthood. It is also known as childhood-onset fluency disorder or stuttering [3]. Stuttering that is characterized by disruptions in the normal flow and rhythm of speech, which can include repetitions, prolongations, or blocks of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases.

An acquired fluency disorder generally refers to the sudden onset of fluency problems in someone who previously spoke fluently. Acquired fluency issues can have a variety of causes, including neurological disorders, psychological disorders, head injuries, stroke, medication side effects, and emotional trauma [2, 3]. Additionally, certain medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis have been associated with acquired fluency issues [2]. It is important to note that the specific cause of an acquired fluency issue can vary from person to person, and a thorough evaluation by a speech-language pathologist and medical doctor is recommended to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment plan [2].

 While the causes of fluency disorders are not completely understood, they are known to lead to problems with socialization, learning, and mental health.

Are all fluency disorders the same?

No, all fluency disorders are not the same. There are two main types of fluency disorders: stuttering and cluttering. Stuttering is characterized by interruptions in the flow of speech, such as repetitions of sounds, syllables, or words, or blocks where the person is unable to produce a sound. Cluttering, on the other hand, is characterized by rapid, erratic speech that may be difficult to understand due to a lack of organization or coherence in the person’s thoughts. The symptoms and causes of fluency disorders can vary from person to person [1][2][3].

The last thing I want to leave you with is that developing fluency is extremely difficult if you are a person who has a severe case. Most often times with a severe case you just need to learn how to live with it and accept it. And most often times its those people who I have the highest respect for. They live with an obvious impairment that can be very embarrassing yet they continue to persist academically, professionally, and personally in their lives. These people do not see themselves as victims of their impairment instead as fighters who strive to achieve. Salute to you guys out there!

In the next blog well be talking about voice issues!