Cluttering diagnosis and treatment

Kathleen Scaler Scott is a frontrunner when it comes to stuttering and cluttering. She works both as lecturer and clinician, has written several books and has treated many cluttering clients. Kathleen Scaler Scott shares with us how cluttering can be diagnosed and treated: What is her general approach? What aspects does she often focus on? What other strategies are there? What techniques does she use in therapy? What advice does she have for people who clutter? Tune in for this interesting video and get updated on the latest do’s and don’ts for diagnosing cluttering and the treatment of this disorder.

As a speech language pathologist you want to be sure that you communicate the correct diagnosis to your clients: does your client stutter, clutter, or does he/her have characteristics of both disorders? Susanne Cook, specialist in the field of fluency disorders and professionally involved in the International Cluttering Association, explains how she diagnoses and treats people who clutter. What are important elements in treatment? How does she approach the treatment? And what can speech-language pathologists do to feel more confident in generating a differential diagnosis?

Attention points in diagnosing cluttering

Besides that cluttering and stuttering can occur simultaneously in one patient, the differential diagnosis between the two disorders is complicated by the fact that they share a number of symptoms. For example, repetitions, interjections and tachylaly (speaking too fast) can be found in both cluttering and stuttering. However, there are also clear differences between the two disorders. The main difference is undoubtedly that the person who clutters seems, to a certain extent, to be oblivious to the glitches in his speech, and is in no way, or far less, concerned about them. While the stutterer is painfully aware of his problem and would do anything to hide it, the clutterer just talks on without worrying too much. So, in what other ways do clutterers seem to differ from stutterers? Former scientist and speech-language therapist Deso Weiss put together an overview based on dozens of years of clinical experience, which he used in diagnosing cluttering.

Points of difference Cluttering Stuttering
Self-awareness Poor to none Good
Speaking under stress Better Worse
Speaking when relaxed Worse Better
Concentrating on speech Better Worse
Speaking after being interrupted Better Worse
Giving short answers Better Worse
Speaking in foreign language Better Worse
Reading aloud known text Worse Better
Reading aloud unknown text Better Worse
Handwriting Hasty, uninhibited Forced, inhibited
Attitude towards speaking Indifferent Worried
Psychological attitude Extraverted Introverted
Goal for therapy Focus on details Focus derived from details

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