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Stuttering and brain plasticity – how learning changes your brain

As we learn more about stuttering, we are seeing increasing evidence that stuttering is related to the workings of the brain. If stuttering proves to be a genetic disorder or a neurological problem related to how the brain processes speech production, many people question what the point is of having therapy?

Once it was believed that the brain was hard wired. People thought that once the brain developed, there was no possibility of making changes. Today neuroscientists believe that this is not true. There have been many studies on brain plasticity, the capacity of the brain to change by developing new connections between neurons resulting in changes of the internal structure of the existing synapses.

We are all born with a specific genetic makeup that determines our tendencies. Musical tendencies, language abilities, handedness, and mathematical ability, among countless others are influenced by our genetic make up. However, when we engage in a specific activity to the point of becoming expert, the areas in your brain that deal with this type of skill have been shown to change.

Other evidence that the processes that produce stuttered speech are not so hard wired that they cannot be changed comes from a lot anecdotal evidence in which people who have once stuttered appear to be naturally fluent speakers and from our clients who report that stuttering is no longer an issue in their life. This is proof that the same person can produce speech differently at different times in his life.

During Dynamic Stuttering Therapy people who stutter learn to use the normal processes of producing speech. They begin therapy thinking that what they do is the only thing they can do, but soon see that it is indeed possible to produce speech in a way that is so very different. If it weren’t possible to change their way of producing speech, we would not see this happen. No matter what the cause of stuttering proves to be, change is possible and treatment can help people who stutter to make the necessary changes.