Cluttering

Cluttering is a fluency disorder and, according to the latest research, often coexists with stuttering and learning disabilities. An adult who clutters has a rapid speech rate which is irregular in rhythm and often accompanied by inappropriate pausing and inflection. Speech may sound unclear and blended, especially as words increase in length and complexity (mystery, mysterious, mysteriously). If an adult’s speech is rapid, disorganized or abnormal breathing is observed the diagnosis of cluttering should be considered.

Can a person who clutters have coexisting difficulties?

Yes, individuals who clutter may also be diagnosed with apraxia, Tourette’s, ADHD, or be on the autism spectrum.

Developmental Concerns & Cluttering

When I was a child my parents noted some developmental concerns; are they related to cluttering?

Childhood developmental concerns may be related to cluttering. Read the following to see if any of these apply to your childhood development:

As a child, adults who clutter may have been small in stature, and may have reached normal gross motor skills (sitting, standing, walking, and hopping) later than their typically developing peers. Children who clutter may exhibit behaviors that are similar to a child with ADHD: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and restlessness. Language development is often delayed resulting in difficulty with word retrieval and word order. Motor and language delays often cause an individual who clutters to avoid complex sentences or multisyllabic words. A child may want to say, beautiful, but may substitute the word, nice, instead, to avoid pronouncing a longer word. The longer word requires advanced motor speech skills which are often delayed in a child who clutters.


Education Performance & Cluttering

I had trouble in school when I was a child; could this be related to cluttering?

Academic areas which are often affected include spelling and reading; a child who clutters does not always perceive the unstressed syllable, nor do they perceive vowel sounds accurately. Your parents may have brought you to a tutor if you cluttered as a child. Parents are now advised to seek treatment from a speech-language pathologist who is trained and licensed to treat cluttering disorders. In order to obtain the best results, it is recommended that the professional you select be capable of diagnosing and treating the root cause of the academic difficulty.


Cluttering Statistics

What is the incidence of cluttering and stuttering?

About 55% of fluency clients only stutter

About 40% of fluency clients have co-existing stuttering and cluttering

About 5% of fluency clients only clutter

Why should I seek treatment for cluttering at Granite Bay Speech?

Granite Bay Speech specializes in treating fluency disorders and we have worked with many individuals who clutter. We can identify and address the specific needs of individuals who clutter. To the untrained ear, cluttering is often mistaken for stuttering and inappropriate treatment strategies are utilized. It is important to consult a speech-language pathologist who has expertise in fluency disorders to develop an effective treatment plan for cluttering. Our director, Nancy Barcal has treated fluency disorders for over 30 years and has trained the Granite Bay Staff; you can be assured of competent diagnosis and treatment when you consult with Granite Bay Speech.

I think my spouse clutters. He often says I am not listening to him. I hear the cluttering, but he insists his speech is fine! This is causing friction in our marriage, what can I do?

You can help by understanding what cluttering is and how the person who clutters feels. You do not experience cluttering, but imagine if every time you spoke someone said your speech was garbled and unclear. This is what a person who clutters is faced with every day. It’s no wonder that individuals who clutter start to shut down the communication channels; they are tired of being told they are unclear. They feel they are being corrected unnecessarily. When a person clutters they often do not perceive the errors in their speech. They may feel the person they are talking with isn’t listening to them or listening to their message. They might feel you are just waiting to catch an error in their speech and ignoring their ideas. But don’t worry; there are ways you can help.

First, obtain accurate information about cluttering and share with your spouse that you have a better understanding of what he is experiencing. Then ask if he is interested in learning about techniques to improve his speech so you can communicate with less stress. Nancy will meet with you in a confidential appointment to provide helpful techniques that can be utilized immediately to improve communication skills. She will discuss treatment options that fit your time and budget. Therapy techniques and technology are utilized to obtain progress in a short period of time.

Therapy Goals

What are some therapy goals for adults who clutter?

Therapy goals may include: slowing speech rate, formulating concise ideas, practicing rhythmic speech for clear articulation, and breathing naturally. Adults who clutter are often asked to repeat what they say because their listener does not understand their fast speech. Adults who clutter are often asked to slow their speech rate, yet without therapy techniques, they are unable to self-monitor their fluency.


Revisiting Therapy

If I received treatment as a child for cluttering, wouldn’t that therapy cure my cluttering?

While many people who clutter may have received treatment as a child, they were often misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated for stuttering or speech sounds; they were not treated for cluttering. Many adults who clutter are pleasantly surprised at their rapid progress when they seek treatment at Granite Bay Speech. We utilize effective, research based techniques for fluency disorders which were unavailable as recently as ten years ago.


Pure Cluttering

What is meant by the term “pure cluttering”?

The term, “pure cluttering” is defined as a person who clutters, but does not have any co-existing fluency symptoms.