Is stuttering genetic?

Is stuttering genetic?

The short answer is NO!

Stuttering is thought to have genetic roots which explains why so many people fail to overcome it. "Why try if it cannot loose it, cure it? I was born this way, this way I die!"

Wait! No.

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Contrary to conventional views, stuttering is not hereditary. It cannot be inherited the way physical features are. Shape and eyes color, complexion, bone structure, and so on.

Stuttering is the conditioned [learned] fixed reaction, it is learned. Learned reactions are acquired as we go through the process of socialization. Nobody is born with a stutter.

What you inherit is the anxious disposition, the type of nervous system. It predetermines how intensely you react to various external stimuli. You are probably a very sensitive and emotional person.

Am I right?

For instance, I am a natural worrier and often overreact. I invent problems where there is none. Other people facing an identical situation might not bat an eyelid. I can learn coping strategies but will always remain an extra sensitive person because such is my inherited, genetic nature. The psychological makeup I was born with.

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"Many people are sensitive, but why they don't stutter?".

I anticipated this question.

Having the sensitive nervous system only predisposes you to develop stuttering but does not guarantee you will have it. It largely depends on external factors present within the immediate environment in which you live.

Environmental factors entail a parenting style, social and emotional stress, stigmatizing a child as less intelligent or capable, showing negative attitudes and emotions towards their ability to communicate, drawing attention to speech errors, stuttering parents, and watching their reactions to speaking situations.

Anything that draws and fixates attention firmly on speaking.

It makes you hesitant and fearful of social situations. A simple act of communication turns into performance. Speaking well becomes an obsessive fixation taking over all attentional resources. You can hardly focus on anything else. Only speech matters.

We are all unique. Other sensitives might not develop stuttering, but they are just as at risk. In fact, they might, and probably will develop other mental other psycho-emotional disorders and fixations such as hair pulling, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, body dysmorphia, skin picking, bruxism, and a wide array of other mental health-related conditions.

I hope you understand these conditions are not inherited. Imagine an infant with a body dysmorphia? Nonsense!

Passed in genes is ONLY the predisposition to developing psycho-emotional conditions. Stuttering is one of them.

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Look at your parents. What are they like? How do they react to events? Especially, trivial events? Do they overact?

Many PWS's I had an immense joy to speak to whilst working on this project share explicit details on their life with parents and parenting styles used. The informants noted the volatile nature of their parent's temperaments, high sensitively and anxiety, fearfulness, and a tendency for exaggerating and catastrophizing events.

Stuttering is not a congenital conditional and is NOT PASSED DOWN in genes.

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Stuttering is not congenital. This is a conditional learned reaction and it is reversible. Read what is stuttering here.

I stuttered for over 15 years. By the age of 30, I was totally stuttering free. Freedom entails the absence of obsessive thoughts, mental rehearsals before situations, blocking, choosing words, avoiding sounds, or/and situations.

Speech just happens without conscious attempts to control or monitor it in any way. During the research, I learned I was not alone. There were many former PWS's that eliminated stuttering too. They too were told stuttering was congenital and yet "magically" recovered. These people helped expand my understanding of stuttering even further.

You can achieve this freedom too and become the person you really DREAM TO BECOME!

What this article helpful to you? Please leave a comment.

Olga Bednarski - independent stuttering expert

Your child stutters. The best thing you can do.

Loving your children for who they are.

I often receive messages from parents. Their children stutter. Age from 2-6.

Typical situation: repetitions, sound prolongations, reluctance to talk, hesitations, blocking, pointing to things instead of asking for them.

"My daughter started stuttering on certain words. She is 2.5 years old. She never had this before. Is this serious? Shall we go to the doctor's? How to make it stop?"

"My daughter is 6. Had been stuttering from 3. We went to SLT who recommended traditional therapy. We did as advised but stuttering still remains. My heart is bleeding looking at this…"

"My child started stuttering. I am terrified! I feel like crying thinking about my son's future…"

"My son is 3 years old, suddenly developed a stutter. He was fluent before. We are shocked. Clueless as to why it happened or how to help it"

I want to shout out – PLEASE DON'T PANIC! Do not dramatize. Do not catastrophize. Overreacting will not help the problem, but it can exacerbate it. You will not even notice how!

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Parental attitude is critical is the firsts years of a child's life. Children see the world and themselves through the eyes of their parents. Mothers, especially. Whenever she shines and directs her attention, that is what her child sees. However, she reacts, that is how the child reacts.

Parental reactions and emotional state transmit to children. Children are sensitive and receptive. They receive all information indiscriminately. There are no filters of neither logic nor intricate analysis. Everything sent their way is taken literally.

Emotions rules their brain. Emotions are the language of the unconscious. For this very reason, adults can still recall in detail injuries caused to them in childhood or puberty. The emotional change and images of what had happened become imprinted on the memory. And, stay there for life.

A 63-year-old male bitterly recalls, "My younger brother was given a wooden pistol. He was too young to know what it was. But I have been pushed aside and said the toy was not mean from me. Threatened with threatened if I try to take it away ……I was hurt, I still feel hurt…". The situation happened 58 years ago. The intense emotional experience coupled with the burning feeling of unfairness has fixed the incident on the man's memory forever.

Emotions are the language of the unconscious. The language of the soul. Everything that experiences – good or bad - gets stored in the subconscious mind impacting our life. Watch your reactions! You will forget. To you, it is silly nonsense. Your children will remember.

Children interpret the world and themselves in this world through the prism of parental attitudes.

That is if you dramatize events (any events), make a mountain out of a molehill. You can be certain your children will react in precisely in the same way.

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Parental approach and attitudes towards stuttering become part of the children's Belief system.

The belief system entails guiding principles, an unwritten rule that spells what is right and what is wrong. All people's behavior is guided by unique Belief Systems. The guiding is totally unconscious and is unquestionable. We do certain things because we were taught (shown) that this is the only way of doing it. The only right way.

Having been severely reprimanded for stumbling on words, we see stumbling as an undesirable thing to do. So, we begin to hesitate and withdraw. Soon we experience blocks and stumble even more watching displeasure on our parents' faces.

"I reprimanded my girl and said, "speak normally!". Now she stutters, she stops talking and covers her mouth, points to things…."

Do you see what I mean?

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Projecting the positive and supportive image is a must. Panicking and pleading will not ease the problem, but it will make it worse. Your child watches you getting hysterical. You drag them from one doctor to another: speech therapist, neurologist, psychologists, cardiologists, immunologist, psychopathologist. The fact that all this is for their benefit is beyond children's' understanding. Such overactivity scares them. It creates stress and anxiety.

I am the reason my Mum is upset. Something must wrong with me. I am no good. I must be bad. All other kids are normal, their Mums seems happy and me….:( They compare themselves.

This is where low self-esteem comes from. Not knowing your self-worth. "I am unworthy of my Mum's love until I learn to speak well".

People have worth regardless of how they talk and that is what you, as a carrying parent, should promote.

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Overreacting exacerbates the problem. As an adult, you might feel that you are helping your child to recover. You care and do not want the problem to go out of hand. The reality is – you built the foundation for stuttering. It takes root.

Balance is the key. I do not advise you just passively sit there. But not go over the board. Maintain balance. Stay rational.

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One more thing.

Energy flows, where attention goes. What you focus on expands.

Excessive worrying fixates your child's attention to speech. Speech is a natural, spontaneous process. It does not require control. Conscious controlling of natural processes interrupts their flow and creates difficulties.

What would happen if you intentionally put a stick into spokes of your bicycle wheel? You would surely collapse. You cannot continue riding like that.

Speech stumbles. Confidence falls below zero. Anxiety bogs the mind. And so it continues, until one freeze. Brutal block!

Do you want your child to experience this?

Energy flows, where attention goes. What you focus on expands.

Speech. Stumbles. Repetitions. Blocks. Speech.

If only I could say that fluently. If only I would not block.

This turns into obsession. You block – the day is ruined! A child's world is permeated with "the artificial tragedy". Blown out of all proportion. Speech is now associated with negativity and it instills worry.

I'd better be quiet. Too risky. What if I am punished? What if I disappoint my Mum? Hesitant to speak. Approach – avoidance. I want to say it, but I won't.

I'd better be quiet.

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How to help your child and not exacerbate stuttering?

Stuttering is not deliberate. Children are not lazy to speak. They genuinely cannot.

  • Do not draw attention to the speech, divert from it.
  • Do not point out errors. Treat disfluencies as if nothing happened.
  • Let your child finish their sentences. Don't interrupt.
  • Listen patiently. Do not speak FOR your child.
  • Do not overdo on doctors.
  • Ask relatives to stop making comments about the "vocal inadequacy"/incompetence of your child.

WARNING!

!!! If your child experiences seizures, epilepsy, I strongly suggest you seek medical advice from a neurologist. Stuttering might be a superficial symptom of a more serious medical issue. DO NOT DELAY!

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Do you know what excessive worrying is?

Your fear. Don't pass your fears onto your children. Panicking and catastrophizing you will do more harm than good.

Don't forget that at such a young age stuttering can and often is a passing event. It is a temporary development problem that will go on its own withing interventions.

Here is the statistics:

"Between 75-80% of all children who begin stuttering will stop within 12 to 24 months without speech therapy. If your child has been stuttering longer than 6 months, they may be less likely to outgrow it on their own."

The correct parental response is the key to the elimination of stuttering.

Play your cards right. Common sense is your ally when it comes to helping your child normalize their speaking pattern. In not letting stuttering take root and be carried into adulthood and making them calmer and more confident in themselves in the long term.

Observe, monitor but don't jump to hasty conclusions but don't push it.

You child stutters. The best thing you can do is to love them for who they are. Regardless of whether they stammer or not.

Live fluently and stay safe,

Olga Bednarski

Independent stuttering expert

Understanding is the key: What is stuttering?

what is stuttering with olga
Understanding is the key.

One of the great challenges in this world is knowing enough to think you're right but not enough to know you're wrong”

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Understanding is the key. What is stuttering?

Stuttering is not a sentence. You simply looked for the answers in the wrong places.

There are many theories and misconceptions about stuttering, autism, asymmetry of brain hemispheres, underdeveloped articulators, a form of schizophrenia, even the result of gender discrimination. More theories are formulated as you read this article.

Filling minds with nonsense, the speculators, as if on purpose, divert attention away from the genuine causes of stuttering. Trusting them, believing in them leads to a tremendous loss of time and effort on trying to correct something that does not require a correction. Fluent speech.

As we work on straightening stuttered speech (i.e. an external symptom), we overlook the prime cause of stuttering. The total inner misalignment of our thoughts, feelings, perceptions of the world, and our place in this World.

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The sheer amount of speculations on stammering indicates only one thing; doctors do not know what stuttering is.

Clueless as to what they are up against. This is because their "understanding" is based on obsolete theories and guesswork. PWS's that put their trust in traditional approaches are misled too. Following "the qualified advice" PWS's invest in one method (i.e. classic therapy) after another (i.e. medications, devices, hypnosis). But fail to achieve a desired level of fluency and end up drifting. Doomed to never find an adequate solution.

Finally, PWS's see how pointless all the efforts have been. Bitterly disappointed, desperate, and impatient, they withdraw into the World of their own.

The infliction stays. Unresolved. Like an ulcer, it is invisible but just as painful. Life does not get any easier.

You cannot live by avoiding life. Sooner and later, you stick your nose out. Curious. Anything new? You still wish to have a life that you want.

The main question still demands the answer.

WHAT IS STUTTERING?

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The Answer.

According to my approach, stuttering is a conditioned psycho-emotional disorder [in the form of a conditioned fixed reaction]. The way of perceiving reality, the attitude towards the World and yourself in this World. The Mentality. The Mindset.

This mindset is made up of masses of psychological fixations and models of behavior. One by one, following in a sequence they form a process line. The fire out and, we block and stutter.

Like in a shotgun. Guns do not fire out of the blue. A careful process of preparation precedes the shooting. You pull the gun out the sleeve – take bullets – open the magazine – charge – aim – pull the trigger – ONLY NOW YOU SHOOT.

An uncharged shotgun will not fire. You must prepare the gun for a shoot.

Blocks, facial spasms, tricks, avoidance strategies, obsessive thoughts, rehearsals – all these are part of the shooting.

The result of the preparations that took place BEFORE you enter a speaking situation. Whether you do this consciously or unconsciously, does not make any difference. Your pistol is charged (the brain fired up) – point-blank shot (you block)!

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Stuttering is not a physical disorder. Disfluency is only an external manifestation of the internal psycho-emotional dissonance.

To eliminate stuttering permanently, correcting stuttered speech won’t be enough.

All known methods and techniques only mask the problem. The initial euphoria and confidence you get after the course evaporate fast. You wake up in your bed, recall speaking encounters you are to have today, and dread grips you once again.

Desperately, you begin to grab tricks and techniques. Fight, resist, work on your speech. You fight fire with fire. But when your name is called out inviting you to speak – YOU FREEZE. As if paralyzed. Sounds stuck in your throat. Relapse. Fighting fire with fire only creates more fire!

Game over.

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Aren't you tired of wasting time on ineffective methods?

To stop relapsing, we must deal with the inner cause of stuttering. Restore the imbalance and re-establish harmony.

You will have to look closer and find out what exactly DO YOU DO (this will be unique for each PWS) to create disfluency. How you charge the pistol and when you pull the trigger.

Time to wake up from the zombie-trance. Bring all the unconscious programs, insecurities, limiting models of behavior, and beliefs into consciousness. Begin to see what goes on. Look the problem in the face (which is not always pleasant) and then hack the chain setting yourself free.

Stuttering is not a sentence. Do not want to suffer – stop suffering! But work must be done (no, not on your speech).

There is no magic pill. The transformation will not happen overnight. It all depends on the severity of your stuttering, how badly you do want to change as well as other variables.

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I do not have a bucket list of exercises that magically "cure" stuttering. My approach will help understand and pin down a UNIQUE VERSION of YOUR stuttering. Make you see how you create stuttering blocks. How you fire your gun. In turn, this will turbo-charge every subsequent step you take towards dissolving stuttering. No longer will you be shooting a cannon at sparrows.

The unconscious mind and your brain will have no other choice but to push out stuttering out of your psyche and your life for good.

Did this article help you to become clearer on what stuttering is? Your feedback motivates me to write.

Olga Bednarski

The independent stuttering expert

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www.stopmystutter.com