Cluttering is a fluency disorder like stuttering however the two conditions are not the same. Cluttering will affect a child's rate of speech and can be supported or treated by speech and language therapy.
What is cluttering in children?
Cluttering is a fluency disorder, it is characterized by excessive breaks in the normal flow of speech resulting from disorganised speech planning, talking to fast and not knowing what you want to say. A child who clutters will have a rapid and / irregular speaking pattern and will often have other speech, language and attention problems.
As cluttering is not a well-known disorder, people with a clutter may often refer to themselves as having a stutter. It is also common for children who have a clutter to additionally have a stutter or vice versa.
What causes cluttering in children?
There is no single cause for cluttering; it is often caused by a combination of factors. Disorders which affect attention may contribute to cluttering.
What are the symptoms of cluttering in children?
Common symptoms often seen in children who clutter can include the following:
- Disorganised language or conversation.
- The child may not be aware of their fluency or speech rate problems.
- The child's speech may improve when asked to pay attention or slow down.
- Slurring or mispronunciation of speech sounds.
- Difficulty being understood.
- Academic or social problems as a result of their clutter.
- Poor handwriting
- High distractibility and a limited attention span.
What problems caused by cluttering can speech and language therapy help with?
Speech and language therapy can help with the following areas, which a child who clutters may have difficulty with:
- speech sound problems
- comprehension problems
- expressive language problems
- attention and listening problems
- communication problems
- voice problems
How is cluttering in children diagnosed?
Cluttering is usually diagnosed by a speech and language therapist. The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment and also work with a number of other professionals e.g. teachers to identify if a child has a clutter. An initial assessment will include:
- A case history of your child's development and a family history of any speech and language difficulties.
- A discussion with you about your child's communication problems and what your concerns are.
- An observation of your child's speech, language and interaction skills.
- A more detailed assessment of your child's speech and language abilities, this may include tape recording your child speaking, asking your child to repeat words or sentences, observing your child's non speech movements e.g. tongue, lips, jaw and facial movements.
How does speech and language therapy help children with cluttering?
Speech and language therapy will often work on areas which are contributing to your child's clutter before working on their clutter directly, for example working on your child's attention and listening.
A general aim of speech and language therapy for cluttering is to reduce the rate of your child's speech which may be targeted using a variety of therapy techniques. By reducing the rate of speech this may also help with any speech sound problems your child may have.
Speech and language therapy will also aim to help your child monitor their own speech rate. If a child also has a stutter this will also be worked on in therapy.
What would speech and language therapy treatment for a child with a clutter involve?
An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will help to determine the symptoms and also the severity of the symptoms of your child's clutter. An initial assessment will also identify any other areas of difficulty that may need to be addressed in therapy. After the initial speech and language therapy assessment, treatment may involve the following:
- one to one therapy
- clinic visits
- home visits
- consultative role
- alternative and augmentative communication
- advice and education
- early intervention
Specific treatments for children who clutter include:
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?
To arrange an initial speech and language therapy assessment please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 0885 643.
Cluttering is a fluency disorder which is characterised by a fast rate of speech and / an irregular speaking pattern. A child who clutters will often have poor handwriting and attention problems. Speech and language therapy will aim to reduce a child's speaking rate which will contribute to the intelligibility of your child's speech. If you feel you and your child may benefit from speech and language therapy then please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing email@example.com or calling 0330 0885 643.
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