PSP Association
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What's a stutter when it's not a stutter?

I took dad to the art gallery (again, he wants to go there fairly often) yesterday, and he had a very odd speech problem that I'd not witnessed, and mom said she'd only observed once.

He wanted to say something, but when he tried to start he just kept repeating the same syllable or sound over and over (something like a reh-reh-reh-reh...). It was eerie, since he also couldn't seem to stop for a bit, and then when he tried again, it just happened the same way. He seemed aware that this was happening, but was unable to do anything.

Does anyone have an idea what the name for this speech issue is?


9 Replies

Could it be that the PSP is affecting his speech Centre? Maybe see if he can manage to communicate in a different way, such as pointing to words/letters, etc. Must be quite frightening for him as expect he may think he is speaking words you can understand.

Always assume there is a sensible person trapped in there and try and communicate!

Hope it is temporary and he recovers his ability to speak.


Jen xxx


My husband who has PSP did have problems getting words out,now we just do thumbs up and down.


Not exactly this but I see many flavors of speech problems mentioned in this forum. Repetition of a particular syllable indicates inability to move forward to the next one. My dads speech is low and there are some parts that are very clear and another part that totally sounds like some other language. And my dad also switches to English a lot these days (as against his natural tendency to speak in our native language). But there is difficulty in understanding anything he speaks - English or native lang.

Hope your dad gets better and this is just a temporary setback.


My husband does this a lot and we just wait patiently until he manages to get the words out no idea what it's called but definitely a symptom of PSP. Xx


Mom and I did a bit more reading up on the subject, and found a description that fits what's started happening.

In a presentation titled "Psychogenic Speech Disorders in People

with Suspected Neurologic Disease: Diagnosis & Management" there was this description of neurologic stuttering.

Neurologic Stuttering - Clinical Characteristics

„ Sound/syllable repetitions, prolongations, blocking

„ may not be restricted to initial syllables

„ may include content as well as function words

„ awareness of dysfluencies but without significant


„ may not show adaptation effect or improvement with choral

reading or singing

Dad's been having problems with speech for a while, including the softer speech, garbled words, slurring, and not even talking, just pointing and gesturing, but the stuttering is new. We'll have to keep track of how often this is happening, and see if we can get him back in with the speech language pathologist. He sees the neurologist in August, and it will be interesting to see what changes the dr notices.

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Thanks - great post.

Helped us.


This kind of palandromic speech is sure sign of psp In fact it was one of my first symptoms that something was wrong it is very strange because it doesn't happen all the time as usual there are good days and bad days . It is always worse at times of anxiousness .

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Yes my husband has this, sometimes

A lot worse than others, definitely the psp, very frustrating for them, but fortunately my husband laughs it off a lot of the time which is good.

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stroke damage, maybe dementia or alzheimers.....I found that my father in law who has dementia due to alzheimers does the very same thing or mumbles something like well if you could see that I could see then you would see....and I tell him that I can see what he sees and I agree with what he sees......this bit of banter may not help your dad but you might ask if to use a computer word board. He still wants to say and maybe even knows what to say but the neurons are damaged and thus cannot same them.......get him a word has pictures or words that he can point to for conversation....



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