International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) was established back in 1998, with the goal to raise public awareness about stuttering which affects 1% of the world’s population.
Stuttering is a communication impairment in which a person’s speech is disrupted. People who suffer from this condition may experience repetitions (D-d-d-dog), prolongations (Mmmmilk), or blocks (the absence of sound), or a combination of these sounds.
Notably, stuttering is about three or four times more common in males than females. Nonetheless, there is no proven, research-backed “cure” for it that works consistently, over time and for everyone. However, people who stutter are encouraged to go to therapy to work on finding confidence in themselves and their ability to communicate.
What Causes Stuttering?
Most experts believe that it is caused by variations in brain activity that interfere with speech production. The predisposition to stutter may be hereditary in some people. Although emotional or situational circumstances can sometimes cause speech impediment too. It is important to emphasise that stuttering is primarily a neurological/physiological problem, not a psychological one.
The exact causes of stuttering are unknown. Yet, the most frequent type is known as developmental stuttering, which occurs spontaneously in childhood, most commonly between the ages of two and eight. Approximately 4% to 5% of people stutter at some point during their youth. While the majority of people who stutter become fluent by the time they reach adulthood, stuttering can be a chronic and persistent condition for others.
Studies in Egypt
Let’s take a look at the research paper, Prevalence of Stuttering in Primary School Children in Cairo-Egypt, that dates back to 2015. 10 schools participated in the study. The results showed that the prevalence of stuttering among primary school children in Cairo was 1.03%. However, in older ages, the study showed a declining trend in stuttering.
Another study was conducted by The Egyptian Journal of Otolaryngology titled Pragmatic Assessment in Egyptian Stuttering Children. It aimed to assess social language skills in Egyptian-Arabic speaking children who stutter. With the focus of finding patterns between stuttering and the social skills aspect of language, in the hope for better future planning of a pragmatic-focused rehabilitation program for children who stutter.
The results found out that the score of social language skills was significantly lower in the stuttering group. This highlights that stuttering affects children’s social language skills significantly at a younger age.
The International Stuttering Association puts an annual theme to address and raise awareness about stuttering. This year’s theme is “Speak the change you wish to see”. The institution is encouraging people from across the world to write and share experiences and changes that we all wish to see in the world.
As a result, learning more about stuttering is critical for children’s development and understanding the social barriers they experience in communicating their ideas and thoughts.