What Is Stuttering?

When a person stutters, we sometimes say that their speech is “dysfluent” because the flow of speech is interrupted. These interruptions may include one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Repetitions – involve repeating a sound, syllable or phrase (e.g. m-m-m-my)
  • Prolongations – involve stretching out a sound (e.g. mmmmmy)
  • Blocks – involve stoppage of the airflow so no sound comes out


These characteristics are often caused by increased tension somewhere within the lungs, throat, mouth, tongue or lips. When people stutter, they often struggle to push the words out as they feel the words are getting stuck.

Unfortunately, this strategy is often ineffective as it results in more tension which can then result in even more struggle. This struggle may be heard in the individual’s speech (e.g. change in pitch or loudness), seen throughout their body (e.g. body movements, eye blinking) or it may come out in other behaviours (e.g. rapid breathing).


Over time, people who stutter may experience negative emotional reactions to their speech (e.g. teasing, bullying, embarrassment, frustration).

Other people’s reactions or the individual’s own negative thoughts may result in feelings of anxiousness or worry about speaking as they fear getting caught in a stutter again. For many, the result is often a cycle of tension, struggle and inevitably more stuttering.

This loop is very difficult to break without intervention. If these feelings are not addressed, the individual may begin to avoid speaking situations in an attempt to keep themselves from stuttering.

Is there a Cure?

People often wonder if stuttering can be cured. Although there is no easy “cure” for stuttering, speech-language therapy can be very effective in helping the individual learn strategies or techniques to help him modify his speech. Speech-language intervention for stuttering often involves the following:

  1. Increasing awareness of stuttering and its related behaviours;
  2. Reducing how often someone stutters;
  3. Decreasing the tension and struggle of stuttering moments;
  4. Working to decrease word or situation avoidances;
  5. Using effective communication skills; and,
  6. Increasing overall communication confidence.

If you have concerns about your speech or your child’s speech, it is always best to get it checked out by a trained Speech-Language Pathologist.

After reviewing the assessment results, the treating Speech-Language Pathologist will work with the person who stutters and/or their family members to set individual treatment goals that will help them become the best communicators they can be.

Signs You May Need an Assessment by a Speech-Language Pathologist

You might think it would be obvious to anyone with a communication disorder that they would benefit from a professional assessment by a Speech-Language Pathologist. People who struggle with articulation or fluency disorders for example, are often painfully aware of the challenges they experience on a day-to-day basis. Voice disorders, which include difficulty producing appropriate pitch, volume and clarity, are also often self-discovered as a result of the change in his/her speaking voice or discomfort.

But there are challenges a Speech-Language Pathologist can help with that may not be quite so obvious to the affected individual.

People who experience cognitive-communication disorders as the result of an acquired brain injury may suffer impaired thinking or judgment and not recognize their need for help. People with delayed vocabulary development or medical conditions such as autism, Down syndrome or developmental delays may also not be aware of the extent of their communication disorders. Those who experience difficulty swallowing may not realize that they too can be helped.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these difficulties, or has problems with attention, memory, organizing thought, finding words, or forming words into sentences, consider contacting a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist for an assessment. Following an assessment, the clinician can develop a plan to help overcome the communication challenge.

Whatever the difficulty, at S.L. Hunter & Associates, the Speech-Language Pathologists work hard to establish an excellent rapport with each of their clients, so that each one feels supported and safe. Supported by their clinician, clients express concerns, set achievable goals, practice new skills and celebrate successes.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. They can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.


Speech-Language Pathology as a Career – What Does it Take?

Information Processing and Reading

One out of every ten Canadians lives with a serious communication disorder. But they don’t have to go it alone. Speech-Language Pathologists are highly trained professionals who work with people of all ages to diagnose and treat a wide variety of speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties.

Nine Canadian universities offer the specialized training required for a career in Speech-Language Pathologists at the Master’s level. Through studies in such areas as counseling, anatomy, linguistics and voice disorders, students acquire the knowledge and experience to help children and adults regain or develop successful communication.

If you like people, enjoy language and health sciences, as well as possess a pleasant, adaptable and patient demeanor, then a career in Speech-Language Pathologists could be for you! In addition to four years of undergraduate studies (centering on courses in psychology, physiology, linguistics, education and health sciences), a two-year Master’s level program with clinical practicum completes the training.

Today’s Speech-Language Pathologists find work in private practice, hospitals, schools, research centres, daycare centres and more.

The rewards of such a career are many; the opportunity to meet and help people is deeply satisfying, no two clients are ever the same and the privilege of walking alongside another individual – cheering them on to success – enriches the life and experience of the communication professional.

At S.L. Hunter & Associates, we’re committed to our clients and make every effort to match them to clinicians to ensure rapport builds quickly. If you or someone you know would like more information about a career in Speech-Language Pathologists, or to book an assessment, call us.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. We can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.

What you should look for in a Speech-Language Pathologist?

If you are in need of Speech-Language Pathology services you may be entering into an area with which, you are unfamiliar. If you, or someone you are responsible for has a communication need, you will find that health care providers may recommend a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) – here’s how to go about finding the right one for you:

The first thing you need to know is whether the SLP you are considering will allow you to set your own appointment or whether a medical referral is required. SLP’s in private practice do not require you to have a medical referral – you can simply call and arrange for an appointment at your convenience. Then you need to know if they accept clients for the particular age group of the individual in need of services. Some SLP’s treat specific age groups whereas others accept clients of any age.

Availability is important. You need to know that the services you need will be available where and when you need them. Some clients have special needs and the SLP may need to travel to a location outside of their clinical setting.

You want to feel comfortable with the SLP that you choose and to know that you are receiving individualized attention. You should be able to ask questions and get satisfactory answers and if you have any concerns these should be addressed. It is important to be kept informed as to the progress that is being made and have recommendations made that would be beneficial during the course of treatment. Of course you will want to know the credentials of the professional that you are going to be working with.

At S. L. Hunter & Associates we have a strong commitment to providing quality care to all clients. All our SLP’s and CDA’s are fully qualified and hired based not only on skill and experience, but on possessing the qualities that make them a good fit with our unique team. If you or someone you know needs the assistance of a Speech-Language Pathologist, we can help.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. We can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.