Getting A Better Understanding Of Speech Disorders: Cluttering

Getting A Better Understanding Of Speech Disorders: Cluttering | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

Most of us take our ability to speak well for granted.

You go through your day, talking to others when you need to, and generally don’t give it much thought.

Sometimes you might stumble over a tricky to pronounce word, or not be able to come up with a word when you need it, but generally you get past these issues fairly quickly.

However, the act of speaking, for someone with a fluency disorder, can be a source of embarrassment, negative self talk, and social and emotional anxiety.

More is being learned about these types of disorders, as prominent figures talk about their speech issues, though – notably President Joe Biden speaking out about growing up with a stutter.

For those experiencing them though, while looking to others who have overcome these difficulties can be inspiring, there is still the issue of tackling the day to day issues which come with a speech disorder.

Let’s take a closer look at fluency disorders, particularly cluttering speech disorder, and how speech therapy for adults with fluency disorders can help.

What Is A Fluency Disorder?

In terms of speech, fluency refers to factors such as rate of speech, continuity, effort, and smoothness.

Filler words such as “um” or “like” when speaking are common examples of disfluency which most everyone will use from time to time.

In individuals with fluency disorders, factors such as changes in the rate or rhythm of speech, as well as disfluencies like repeating syllables, sounds, words, or phrases can lead to speech avoidance, and anxiety.

Common speech disorders include stuttering and cluttering.

Stuttering is characterized by repetition of sounds and syllables, prolonging consonants, and blocks making sound inaudible.

Speech therapy treatments for stutter avoidance & reduction focus on helping you work around these limitations.

Cluttering, on the other hand, is distinguished by a rapid or irregular rate of speech.

Today we are going to take a closer look at cluttering in particular.

Read on to learn more.

What Is Cluttering?

Cluttering is when speech is rapid, unclear, and disorganized.

This may include breaks in the normal flow of speech or speaking too quickly.

In other words, it may come across as “cluttered”.

It can affect social language skills and awareness of disruptions in speech.

The difference between cluttering and stuttering is that an individual who stutters generally knows what they want to say but can’t get the words out.

Someone who is cluttering is often unsure of what they’re trying to say.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cluttering?

Some of the symptoms of cluttering include:

  • Unusual pauses in speaking
  • Extreme coarticulation, resulting in collapsing or omitting syllables and word endings
  • Overuse of disfluencies and filler words such as “like” or “um”
  • Unusual prosody (pauses, rhythm, varying loudness, intonation, and stress patterns)
  • Rapid speech
  • Irregular rate of speech
  • Maze behaviors (repetitions, revisions, and filling pauses)

what are the causes and symptoms of cluttering | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

What Causes Cluttering?

Although there is not much research into what causes cluttering, some risk factors include:

  • Genetics – those with a family history of cluttering seem to be at higher risk
  • Presence of stuttering
  • Sex – cluttering is more common in cisgender males than females
  • Comorbidity with other neurological disorders including Tourette’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or autism spectrum disorder.

These are similar to what causes stuttering in adults.

Cluttering may also be related to issues related to speech production and self regulation.

In these cases, the individual who is speaking may speak at a rate too quickly, resulting in thoughts being vocalized before they are ready.

This can result in issues with fluency and intelligibility.

How Can A Speech Therapist Help?

Treatment for cluttering often focuses on techniques to slow and regulate speech.

Some of these may include:

  • Increased pausing
  • Simulation of a fast rate of speech, and applying pauses
  • Increasing awareness of communication breakdowns (through listener reactions)
  • Working to improve self regulation of rate and clarity of speech
  • Increasing emphasis on word endings and multi syllabic words
  • Practicing keeping a consistent volume when speaking

Pediatric speech therapy for cluttering focuses as well on parent education.

Your children’s speech therapist will provide you with the knowledge you need to encourage your child to develop their speech in a natural way.

As with most treatments that can be helped with speech therapy, early intervention is key to getting the best results.

However, your speech therapist can help with cluttering disorder well into adulthood.

Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today

Do you or child experience difficulty when they’re trying to speak?

Do you show symptoms of a speech disorder such as cluttering or stuttering?

Do you hear from your coworkers or your child’s teacher that they have issues understanding?

We’re District Speech, and we’re here to help.

Servicing Washington DC, Arlington VA and the surrounding area, one or our speech language pathologists can assess your child for a speech disorder and work with you and them to create a treatment plan to help improve their confidence and speech.

Contact us today for more information, or to set up an appointment.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005


District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.