Cluttering Overview

Michelle Arquines
Wikipedian Assignment
Foundations of Special Education

Category: Communicaton Disorders
Topic: Speech Disorders

Article link:
Other Related Link: - an audio clip of the speech of a person who “clutters”

US Fed News Service, Including US State News. Washington, D.C.: Jul 16, 2007

This article discusses the research currently being performed by a West Virginia University professor on a speech disorder called “cluttering.” Dr. Ken St. Louis, a former “clutterer” himself, explains that cluttering is a disorder that occurs when a person’s words all come out together at the same time.

Unlike stuttering, which occurs when a spoken word becomes locked up on one syllable or letter, “cluttering” may be manifested as a series of disjointed thoughts and words in one sentence.

"A clutterer talking about the same thing might come up with, 'I want to go to the st-st … uh, place where you buy … market st-st-store and I don't have muh-muh ti-time money,'" says St. Louis. In other words: I need to go to the store but I don't have a lot of money, and now that I think about it, I really don't have a lot time, either.”

St. Louis’s research on cluttering and its treatment has put some much-needed attention on the disorder. Recently, the world’s first conference on the cluttering disorder took place in Bulgaria. Some 60-plus participants from around the world participated in the conference to learn about the disorder and how to treat it.

Treatment for cluttering includes speech-language therapy where clutterers are asked to focus on single thoughts and to speak in “exaggerated slowness.” The slowness of speech allows clutterers to become accustomed to pronouncing each syllable correctly. An example given in the article: “clutterers can run syllables together (saying "ferchly," in place of "fortunately,")”. A device called a “delayed auditory feedback (DAF)” has also been beneficial; worn like a hearing aid, the device allows clutterers to hear their speech on a split-second delay.

Characteristics of those who “clutter” include:
• Not sounding "fluent," or unclear about what they want to say and/or or how to say it;
• Having excessive levels of interjections and mid-sentence revisions, known as "disfluencies"
• Talking "too fast" and disorganization in their language
• Sloppy handwriting
• Mispronoucing or slurring words
• Having blood relatives who stutter or clutter