Stuttering, no …. problems with language formation

Client #1 talking about how to wash the dog

“…..will just will just wash off not getting not getting not getting any dirt.  So put wat.. . so wash

so wash water on it first then put soap on.”

Stuttering, right?   This speech problem is actually the result of difficulty with language formulation, and in school this child did not qualify for speech services. Crazy, right?

                        Client #2    Greeting        

     Pause (an uncomfortable 10 seconds goes by)”…..  Uh uh uh uh hello I’m, hello I’m ,  uh uh uh uh uh uh  

     uh I’m G, I’m  G, ” smiles.  I say, “you must be G,” he  shakes his head and  walks in. How are you? Long

pause (20 sec) ” I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine.”

I offer G paper because after 15-20 minutes we really have ‘t gotten very far.  Handing G a piece of paper he takes time to answer my questions and I discover he has quite a lot to say.

Stutters? Well, no it turns out neither of these clients have a stuttering problem, but they are both extremely disfluent. Both are on the autism spectrum diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Their language is peppered with long pauses and mostly phrase repetitions and is the result of problems with  language formulation. Are they qualified for speech services at school?  Neither received/receives speech services in school. One of  the defining characteristics of stuttering  is self awareness of the dysfluencies which results in ansiety and increased dysfluencies. Neither client is self conscious, there is little anxiety.   However, when others speak to them they often assumed they know far less then they do.

So should you wait to see what happens? Absolutely not. The lack of self awareness means they will not self correct, so it will not just go away unless the root problem, language is addressed.

Who says that people with Asperger syndrome don’t have speech/language impairments. This is only one speech and language problem that clients on the autism spectrum experience.

Published by Kai Long

Kai currently lives in MA and is interested in collaborating with others to develop a deeper understanding of our speech and language needs.

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