HELPFUL INFORMATION
ABOUT STUTTERING

STUTTERING FACTS

  • Over three million Americans stutter.
  • Stuttering affects three to four times as many males as females.
  • Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Three-quarters of those will recover by late childhood, leaving about 1% with a long-term problem.
  • Exciting new research in the areas of genetics, neurophysiology, child development, and family dynamics is shedding light on the possible causes of stuttering. As a result, we have made tremendous progress in the prevention of stuttering in young children.
  • Studies show that people who stutter are as intelligent and as well-adjusted as those who don't.
  • People who stutter are self-conscious about their stuttering and often let the disability determine the vocation they choose.
  • There are no instant miracle cures for stuttering.
  • Stuttering becomes an increasingly formidable problem in the teen years.

These stuttering facts and stuttering information are provided by the Stuttering Foundation of America. Retrieved on 12/28/2020 from https://www.stutteringhelp.org/did-you-know.

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STUTTERING FAQs

These stuttering facts and stuttering information are provided by the Stuttering Foundation of America and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Retrieved on 12/28/2020 from https://www.stutteringhelp.org/faq & https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/stuttering. 

WHAT IS STUTTERING?

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. Stuttering is also referred to as stammering. 

An individual who stutters exactly knows what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by struggle behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips. Stuttering can make it difficult to communicate with other people, which often affects a person’s quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Stuttering can also negatively influence job performance and opportunities, and treatment can come at a high financial cost.

Symptoms of stuttering can vary significantly throughout a person’s day. In general, speaking before a group or talking on the telephone may make a person’s stuttering more severe, while singing, reading, or speaking in unison may temporarily reduce stuttering.

Stuttering is sometimes referred to as stammering and by a broader term, disfluent speech.

WHAT CAUSES STUTTERING?

There are four factors most likely to contribute to the development of stuttering: genetics (approximately 60% of those who stutter have a family member who does also); child development (children with other speech and language problems or developmental delays are more likely to stutter); neurophysiology (recent neurological research has shown that people who stutter process speech and language slightly differently than those who do not stutter); and family dynamics (high expectations and fast-paced lifestyles can contribute to stuttering).

Stuttering may occur when a combination of factors comes together and may have different causes in different people. It is probable that what causes stuttering differs from what makes it continue or get worse.

WHO STUTTERS?

Roughly 3 million Americans stutter. Stuttering affects people of all ages. It occurs most often in children between the ages of 2 and 6 as they are developing their language skills. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of all children will stutter for some period in their life, lasting from a few weeks to several years. Boys are 2 to 3 times as likely to stutter as girls and as they get older this gender difference increases; the number of boys who continue to stutter is three to four times larger than the number of girls. Most children outgrow stuttering. Approximately 75 percent of children recover from stuttering. For the remaining 25 percent who continue to stutter, stuttering can persist as a lifelong communication disorder.

HOW IS STUTTERING DIAGNOSED?

Stuttering is usually diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist, a health professional who is trained to test and treat individuals with voice, speech, and language disorders. The speech-language pathologist will consider a variety of factors, including case history (such as when the stuttering was first noticed and under what circumstances), an analysis of stuttering behaviors, and an evaluation of speech and language abilities and the impact of stuttering on a client's life.

When evaluating a young child for stuttering, a speech-language pathologist will try to determine if the child is likely to continue his or her stuttering behavior or outgrow it. To determine this difference, the speech-language pathologist will consider such factors as the family’s history of stuttering, whether the child’s stuttering has lasted 6 months or longer, and whether the child exhibits other speech or language problems.

CAN STUTTERING BE TREATED?

Yes, there are a variety of successful approaches for treating both children and adults.

The nature of the treatment will differ, based upon a person’s age, communication goals, and other factors. If you or your child stutters, it is important to work with a speech-language pathologist to determine the best treatment options.

HOW MANY CHILDREN STUTTER?

Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Three-quarters of those will recover by late childhood, leaving about 1% with a long-term problem. The best prevention tool is early intervention.

IS STUTTERING CAUSED BY EMOTIONAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS?

Children and adults who stutter are no more likely to have psychological or emotional problems than children and adults who do not. There is no reason to believe that emotional trauma causes stuttering.

I THINK MY CHILD IS BEGINNING TO STUTTER, SHOULD I WAIT OR SEEK HELP?

It is best to seek ways that you, the parents, can help as soon as possible. (click on If You Think Your Child is Stuttering for ways to help immediately) If the stuttering persists beyond three to six months or is particularly severe, you may want to seek help from a speech-language pathologist who specializes in stuttering right away.

WHAT IS CLUTTERING? IS IT THE SAME AS STUTTERING?

Like stuttering, cluttering is a fluency disorder; but, the two disorders are not the same. Cluttering involves speech that sounds rapid, unclear, and/or disorganized. The listener may hear excessive breaks in the normal flow of speech that sound like disorganized speech planning, talking too fast or in spurts, or simply being unsure of what one wants to say. By contrast, the person who stutters typically knows exactly what he or she wants to say but is temporarily unable to say it. To make matters even more confusing, since cluttering is not well known, many who clutter are described by themselves or others as “stuttering.” Also, and equally confusing, cluttering may occur along with stuttering.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STUTTERING?

Developmental stuttering: Developmental stuttering occurs in young children while they are still learning speech and language skills. It is the most common form of stuttering. Some scientists and clinicians believe that developmental stuttering occurs when children’s speech and language abilities are unable to meet the child’s verbal demands. Most scientists and clinicians believe that developmental stuttering stems from complex interactions of multiple factors. Recent brain imaging studies have shown consistent differences in those who stutter compared to nonstuttering peers. Developmental stuttering may also run in families and research has shown that genetic factors contribute to this type of stuttering. Starting in 2010, researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have identified four different genes in which mutations are associated with stuttering. More information on the genetics of stuttering can be found in the research section of this fact sheet.

Neurogenic stuttering: Neurogenic stuttering may occur after a stroke, head trauma, or other type of brain injury. With neurogenic stuttering, the brain has difficulty coordinating the different brain regions involved in speaking, resulting in problems in the production of clear, fluent speech.

At one time, all stuttering was believed to be psychogenic, caused by emotional trauma, but today we know that psychogenic stuttering is rare.

ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO STUTTER?

Emily Blunt, James Earl Jones, John Stossel, Bill Walton, Mel Tillis, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Carly Simon, Annie Glenn, Ken Venturi, Bob Love, John Updike, King George VI -- all are famous people who stuttered and went on to have successful lives.

I READ ABOUT A NEW CURE FOR STUTTERING. IS THERE SUCH A THING?

There are no instant miracle cures for stuttering. Therapy, electronic devices, and even drugs are not an overnight process. However, a specialist in stuttering can help not only children but also teenagers, young adults, and even older adults make significant progress toward fluency.

 
 

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