At Personal Touch Therapy, LLC we are helping create awareness on World Down Syndrome Day by donning our loudest and brightest socks! Join us!

Stuttering: The Causes & How To Help

Some ancients believed that stuttering was caused by evil spirits, which had to be exorcised. During the Middle Ages, the tongue was considered the culprit. The “remedy”? Hot irons and spices! In later centuries surgeons cut nerves and muscles of the tongue and even performed tonsillectomies to cure stuttering. But those harsh methods all failed to meet their objective.

Modern research suggests that stuttering may have several contributing factors rather than just one single cause. One factor may be a person’s response to stress. Another may be genetics, for about 60 percent of people who stutter have relatives with the same problem. Moreover, research using neuroimaging suggests that the brain of a stutterer processes language differently. Some “may begin speaking before the brain dictates how the words should be articulated,” says Dr. Nathan Lavid in his book Understanding Stuttering.

Hence, the major cause of stuttering may not necessarily be psychological, as was once thought. “In other words, stuttering isn’t affected by belief, and stutterers can’t be ‘psyched’ into fluency,” says the book No Miracle Cures. People who stutter may, however, develop psychological problems as a result of their condition. For instance, they may fear certain situations, such as speaking in public or on the telephone.

Help for Those Who Stutter
Interestingly, people who stutter can usually sing, whisper, talk to themselves or their pets, speak in chorus, or impersonate others with little or no stuttering. Moreover, 80 percent of children who stutter recover spontaneously. But what about the other 20 percent?

Today there are speech-therapy programs that can improve fluency. Some techniques involve relaxing the jaw, lips, and tongue and breathing from the diaphragm. Patients may also be taught to do “gentle onsets,” which involve taking smaller breaths from the diaphragm and releasing a little air as a lead-in to speaking. Additionally, they may be encouraged to prolong vowels and certain consonants. The rate of speech is gradually increased as fluency improves.

Acquiring such skills may take just a few hours. But using those approaches successfully in high-stress situations may involve thousands of hours of practice.

How early should training begin? Is it wise just to wait and see if a child outgrows stuttering on his own? Figures suggest that less than 20 percent of children who stutter for five years recover spontaneously. “By age six,” says the book No Miracle Cures, “a child is unlikely to recover without speech therapy.” Hence, “children who stutter should see a speech-language pathologist as soon as possible,” the book adds. Of the 20 percent of children who continue to stutter into adulthood, an estimated 60 to 80 percent respond to speech therapy.

What is Down Syndrome in 2014?

DS babyThe problem of Down syndrome is the Limitations that people assign to it

The genetic basis of Down syndrome is and will always be the same. Down syndrome is the full or partial triplication of chromosome 21, which results in common physical and development characteristics of people living with this condition. Some medical tendencies are also part of the syndrome.

Throughout history, Down syndrome has always been the most common genetic condition. Approximately of 1 every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome every year in United States.

Down syndrome was grouped by its physical, developmental and medical characteristics in 1866 by Dr. John Lang Down; this is why the syndrome was named after him. In 1959, Dr. Jerome Lejeune scientifically identified the cause of the syndrome by discovering its genetic conformation while demonstrating the existence of the extra chromosome.

Hundreds of years ago, as expressed in historical records, people with Down syndrome were considered “disabled” and were diagnosed with “mental retardation.” They were confined to institutions, with no opportunities for development or quality of life of any kind.

Fast forward to 2014, a time when people with Down syndrome and their families continue to demonstrate that while living with Down syndrome is not a “typical” circumstance, it is also nothing out of this world. Like anyone else, our children with Down syndrome can achieve the fullest of their abilities if they are raised with love and acceptance, just like any other child.

Down syndrome is not the problem; the problem is the limitations that people assign to it.

So here is the most important information about Down syndrome that everyone should be aware of in 2014.

– There are not “retarded” people, but people with intellectual disabilities doing their best, every day, to take full advantage of their unique abilities.

– There are not “Downs.” People with Down syndrome are people first. There’s no need to label them or diminish their humanity by calling them names such as “Downs.”

– They are not angels, nor do they have super powers of any kind. They are typical people, and idealizing them is not a positive way to express love to them. Real love accepts human beings as typical people with strengths and weakness.

– “Down” is not an adverb that transforms the subject. There are no “Down’s communities” or “Down’s parents” or “Down’s kids”; instead there are communities of parents of kids with Down syndrome.

– People with Down syndrome are more alike than different. They grow and develop as anyone else. They are born as babies, grow as toddlers, tweens, and teens, to become adults. In the process they cross typical stages of development, and our responsibility as parents is to educate ourselves to support them at every stage.

– There is not “mild” or “severe” Down syndrome. People either have or do not have Down syndrome. Instead, there are three different genetic conformations of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.

– People with Down syndrome don’t come with a manual that dictates their possibilities and their limits. Every person with Down syndrome is unique and has individual talents that will make him or her stand out in a unique way.

As the mother of two children with Down syndrome, I dream of the day that people with Down syndrome will not be judged by their appearance, and instead be given the chance to demonstrate who they are as individuals.

Written by: Eliana Tardio

Light It Up Blue with Autism Speaks & Personal Touch Therapy

LightItUpBlue-logoWe’d like to invite and encourage each and every one of you to help us shine a “light” on Autism. The most powerful tool to learning more about Autism is understanding. Donating your time, funds, or resources to Autism Speaks helps not only research, but also creates awareness. When we are all educated and informed it adequately equips us to be more understanding and share with others that same understanding. More understanding, more progress! Make a donation today!

Our goal is $200 by April 2nd, but the sky’s the limit, therefore we sincerely appreciate your kind generosity when considering donating to this amazing organization!

For every donation you make your name will be entered into a drawing to win a special gift basket, courtesy of Personal Touch Therapy, LLC!

Don’t forget to wear blue on April 2nd to join the cause and help create even more Autism Awareness!

-See more HERE!

Personal Touch Therapy and VistaPrint

At Personal Touch Therapy, we take so much pride in what we do. Vistaprint helps us show it by supplying us with everything we need to market the company. This week, they begin to air a new round of TV commercials featuring various small business owners, including us, who also love their jobs. Be sure to check them out!