Better Speech 2 min read

What is a Cluttering Speech Disorder?

What is Cluttering?

Cluttering is a relatively little known fluency disorder (unlike stuttering or stammering.)

What is Cluttering?

What is Cluttering?

Cluttering is a relatively little known fluency disorder (unlike stuttering or stammering.)

How do you know if you or someone else has a cluttering problem?

Since cluttering is not well known, many who clutter may be mistakenly described by themselves or others as “stuttering.”

Cluttering is a fluency disorder characterized by excessive breaks in the normal flow of speech that seem to result from disorganized speech planning, talking too fast or in spurts, or simply being unsure of what one wants to say, often accompanied by other symptoms such as language or phonological errors and attention deficits.

By contrast, the person who stutters typically knows exactly what s/he wants to say but is unable to say it fluently and speech becomes dysfluent due to repetitions, prolongations or blocks.

What are the signs of a person with a cluttering speech disorder?

  • Has pauses that are too short, too long, or improperly placed.
  • Does not sound “fluent,” that is, does not seem to be clear about what he or she wants to say or how to say it.
  • Sounds “jerky.”
  • Has excessive levels of “normal disfluencies,” such as interjections and revisions.
  • Has little or no apparent physical struggle in speaking.
  • Talks “too fast” based on an overall impression or actual syllable per minute counts.
  • Speech that is difficult to understand.
  • Auditory perceptual difficulties.
  • Confusing, disorganized language or conversational skills.
  • Limited awareness of his or her fluency and rate problems.
  • Temporary improvement when asked to “slow down” or “pay attention” to speech (or when being tape recorded).
  • Mispronunciation or slurring of speech sounds or deleting non-stressed syllables in longer words (e.g., “ferchly” for “fortunately”).
  • Several blood relatives who stutter or clutter.
  • Social or vocational problems resulting from cluttering symptoms.
  • Learning disability not related to reduced intelligence.
  • Sloppy handwriting.
  • Distractibility, hyperactivity, or a limited attention span.

How can I get help for cluttering?

Get a professional diagnosis from a speech-language therapist (or speech-language pathologist), like Better Speech.

Speech therapy for cluttering may include working on the following in order to achieve fluent speech:

  1. Reducing speaking rate
  2. Self-awareness and self-monitoring
  3. Fluency techniques similar to treatment for stuttering
  4. Address any articulation (pronunciation) or language problems
  5. Speech motor planning or co-ordination
Speech therapy for child and adult

Most clutterers who benefit from speech therapy are aware they do have a significant speech problem, and are motivated to work hard to change it. Clutterers who are not sure that they have a problem, or are relatively unconcerned about it, tend not to improve as much from therapy.

Does Cluttering Ever Go Away?

If cluttering is brought on by alcohol, drugs or prescription medication, then it may go away when these substances are no longer being used. If cluttering is associated with another condition, it may be alleviated in line with the progress of that condition. Some individuals affected by cluttering, however, will deal with it indefinitely.

What If Speaking is Difficult for Someone with Cluttering?

Speaking will be difficult for someone affected by cluttering, but this does not mean that others should shy away from speaking with him or her. Instead, others should be sure to allow the individual as much time as is necessary for him or her to complete their communication. Others should avoid interrupting someone with cluttering, and should not finish his or her sentences. If others cannot understand something due to cluttering, they should be honest about it and continue to communicate until both parties are clear.