Cluttering is a speech disorder which is all but unknown to the general population. Cluttering affects speech fluency. Those who suffer from this speech disorder may not know they have a condition and may not be aware of those times they clutter their speech.
There are three aspects to cluttering:
- The individual’s speech speeds up beyond what is typical.
- The individual repeats syllables or phrases, often without any awareness that he does so.
- The individual repeats what he has already stated, a number of times, in an effort to clarify his speech.
These behaviors cause the person’s speech to become cluttered.
Cluttering cannot be traced to a single cause. There may be medical reasons for cluttering that are specific to the individual. In general, anything that affects a person’s concentration may cause cluttering. A person’s concentration may be impaired due to necessary prescription drugs, neurological conditions, or recreational alcohol or drug use, such as the use of marijuana. Cluttering can be seen as a side effect in any of these scenarios.
Cluttering that is brought on by recreational drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication may disappear once the substances are no longer used. When cluttering occurs in conjunction with a condition, the severity of the speech problem may improve as the condition improves. But in many cases, cluttering remains an issue that must be dealt with on an ongoing basis. Though there is no cure for cluttering, speech therapy can often be very successful in minimizing cluttering.
Though cluttering makes speech less efficient, in a way similar to the effects of stammering and stuttering, it doesn’t prevent communication. The person who clutters will have to make an effort to slow her speech and stop to consider what it is she wishes to say. Stress can worsen cluttering in the short-term, so staying relaxed while speaking may help.
While it’s difficult to watch someone struggling as a result of cluttering, it’s important not to avoid speaking with that person. Rather, make sure you remain patient and give the person as much time as she needs to finish speaking her piece. It’s best not to interrupt the person who clutters and one should also refrain from finishing her sentences. If you find it hard to understand what the person who clutters is saying, be straight and tell her. Give her a chance to clarify what she wishes to stay and remain patient until both of you reach understanding.