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Cluttering – A Disorder of Speech

Cluttering is a speech disorder that is often grouped alongside stammering and stuttering, and is a form of dysfluency. It is characterized by speech that is difficult for listeners to understand due to rapid speaking rate, erratic rhythm, poor syntax or grammar, and co-articulation of sounds. A person who presents with the disorder of cluttering may experience a short attention span, poor concentration, poorly organized thinking, inability to listen, and a lack of awareness that his speech is not intelligible.

Cluttering is different from stammering in several ways. The individual is unaware of their disorder and often performs better under stress. They may typically be outgoing and extrovert but their speech may be very disorganised, grammatically incorrect, often with word substitutions. They display poor turn-taking skills, poor listening and attention skills and often interrupt. Many of the same symptoms may be found with children suffering from ADHD.

Treatment or therapy with a speech and language pathologist/therapist may centre around speech awareness (possibly by recording and playing back the child’s speech), syllable awareness games, social skills practice (e.g. turn taking, topic maintenance etc), and language work (focussing on how we put our thoughts into words). Narrative work and story telling can also be used to try and make the child more aware of a framework and structure of a story or conversation.


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