Stuttering, when speech is interrupted

This week, during the convention of the Democratic party in which Joe Biden has been chosen as the candidate for President of the United States, we have seen the emotional speech of a stuttering boy, Bryden Harrington.

Apparently, the American politician is also stuttering, although at present it is practically not noticeable. Many of his fellow party members didn't even know it. As stated by the same, it is only when you are tired or nervous that you can appreciate it. In the speech, the boy thanked Biden for teaching him tricks to overcome this disorder.

We all know what the stuttering, also known as dysphemia, and we have all seen or been with a stutterer. It is a communication disorder, not a language disorder. It is characterized by involuntary interruptions of speech, with repetition of words, syllables or phonemes, together with great muscular tension in the face and neck, which is usually accompanied by anxiety and stress. The psychological effects of stuttering can be very severe, affecting the person's state of mind continuously. It can be the cause, in many cases, of significant isolation or even social phobia.

When does it appear?

Stuttering can start as early as 18 months, but it does most evident between two and five years. During this period it can be a temporary defect that can subside on its own. However, when it lasts beyond this age it is much more difficult to reverse it.

Therefore, as soon as it is detected, it is convenient to put the child in the hands of a speech therapist. Parents and teachers should try not to correct and do not put him in stressful situations that, in themselves, can worsen the picture. Noticing the appearance of the disorder and taking early action can be essential to prevent its further development.

It seems to have been described morphological changes in the left hemisphere of the brain of these people. This is where the speech centers are normally located. To compensate for stuttering, those affected use the opposite hemisphere, the right, making the neurological process of language more reflective and slow.

Stutterers have not been shown to be smarter or have a higher IQ than the rest of the population, but not less. Thus these are normal people who simply have a communication deficit. It appears that stuttering is more common in men than in women. There is a certain family association and in fact a few years ago some genes related to this disorder were identified. In the world there are about 72 million stutterers and in our country, about 47,000. About 80% of them have difficulty finding a job.

Famous stutterers

It is striking that in Spain there are very few celebrities who have declared to be or have been stutterers. It seems that the politician Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo It was, or at least that is what Manuel Azaña used to say. We all know the actor Javier Gil Valle, alias 'Javivi', that he has made stuttering a profession and that it has not even prevented him from obtaining a doctorate from the University of the Sorbonne in Paris.

However, in other countries, apart from the aforementioned Joe Biden, it seems that celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Willis, Nicole Kidman or Marc Anthony, They have managed to have a long professional career and develop a full life despite their stuttering.

In the year 2010 the film 'The King's Speech', awarded with three Oscars and that was dealing with the subject of stuttering King George VI, father of the current Queen Elizabeth II, brought to the fore the psychological implications of this disorder even for a monarch.

How to deal with it?

As we have pointed out, the ideal is to put yourself in the hands of a speech therapist as soon as possible. There are different techniques and exercises, as well as different tricks to speak in public or read speeches that can greatly facilitate the lives of these people. There are also mobile applications with which you can exercise and thus improve your communication skills. If you have a stutterer around, be understanding and help him, try not to correct him and act normally, he will appreciate it.

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