• Stuttering Can Be Stopped

    Stuttering can be embarrassing and frustrating for many people. You are not alone. In fact, many famous people like James Earl Jones and John Stossel stutter.
    Between 4%-5% of the population experiences stuttering, and most are boys or men. Stuttering is 4 times more common in boys at an earlier age.
    In most cases, stuttering appears between the ages of 3 and 5, but recovery can happen at any age. Up to 80% recover by age 16 years. Now that you know stuttering can be stopped, here is some information to get you started on the road to recovery.

    Defining and Diagnosing Stuttering

    Stuttering is commonly described as a condition in which the flow of speech is broken by abnormal stoppages, repetitions, or prolongation of sounds and syllables. It appears to be caused by a timing disruption in the part of the brain that controls speech. When another part of the brain tries to help out, it goes too far. The two parts of the brain get overloaded and results in stuttering.
    Keep in mind that stuttering is not a nervous disorder, but a communication disorder. Some think that stuttering is a nervous reaction to frustration, anxiety, or embarrassment about speaking, but that is not the case.
    Here are some common symptoms of stuttering:
    • Repetition of sounds, words, or phrases
    • Pauses between works with lack of sound
    • Speech that sounds like "blurting"
    • Speech may be better or worse depending if speaker is in private or in public
    Along with the vocal difficulties, those who stutter often nod, squeeze their fists, and blink their eyes in an attempt to force the words out. These gestures can make those who stutter more self-conscious.
    Stuttering is not always easy to identify. Speech therapists use clues to detect or diagnose stuttering in children which may not be noticeable. They include:
    • Rate of speech
    • Language skills
    • Patient reaction to disfluency (like teasing)

    Risk Factor for Stuttering

    There are several things that may increase the risk of a child stuttering. Here are some common factors that therapists look for:
    • Genetics— immediate or extended family member who stutter.
    • Temperament—activity level, ability to adjust to different situations, intensity of reaction to disappointment and failure
    • Sensory—evidence shows that how we hear things may be affect our speech patterns
    • Motor skills—mistiming or problems with balance or posture
    Knowing the reason may help you determine the best way to approach treatment. Remember that recovery happens in most cases.

    Speech Therapy

    Some people do not need therapy and recover on their own. It depends on how severe the stuttering is and your reaction to it. If you need help, look for a speech therapist who can help you refocus how you speak. Keep in mind that earlier treatment has been shown to have better results, especially in preschool children.
    Here are some common goals of speech therapy:
    • Fluency shaping to improve fluency of speech.
    • Stuttering modification to improve communication skills, like eye contact and phrasing.
    • Reduce fears and avoidance by decreasing stressful moments.
    So far, medicine has not been shown to have sufficient effectiveness to justify side effects and risks. However, increasing understanding of stuttering may lead to the development of safe and effective drug treatments.

    Getting Help

    Stuttering interferes with social, work, and family life. People who stutter often avoid speaking situations, and are teased or bullied. Sometimes stuttering will go away on its own. If it does not, do not be shy about getting help from a professional. Chances are, your stuttering will be a thing of the past.


    National Stuttering Association http://www.nsastutter.org/

    Stuttering Foundation of America http://www.stuttersfa.org/


    Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists http://www.caslpa.ca/

    Canadian Stuttering Association http://www.stutter.ca/


    Bothe AK, Davidow JH, Bramlett RE, Ingham RJ. Stuttering treatment research 1970-2005: Systematic review incorporating trial quality assessment of behavioral, cognitive, and related approaches. Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2006;15(4):321-341.

    Howell P: Signs of developmental stuttering up to age eight and at 12 plus. Clin Psychol Rev. 2007:27:287-306

    Howell P, Davis S, Williams R: Late childhood stuttering. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2008;51:669-87.

    Jones M, Onslow M, et al. Randomized Controlled Trial of the Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention. British Journal of Medicine . 2005;331(7518):659.

    Lawrence M, Barclay DM 3rd. Stuttering: a brief review. Am Fam Physician . 1998; 9:2175-2178.

    Prasse JE, Kikano GE: Stuttering: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:1271-6.

    Sommer M, Koch MA, Paulus W, Weiller C, Buchel C. Disconnection of speech-relevant brain areas in persistent developmental stuttering. Lancet 2002; 9330:380-383.

    Stager SV, Calis K, Grothe D, Bloch M, Berensen NM, Smith PJ, Braun A. Treatment with medications affecting dopaminergic and serotonergic mechanisms: effects on fluency and anxiety in persons who stutter. J Fluency Disord. 2005;30(4):319-335.

    Stuttering. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering.htm. Accessed November 19, 2012.

    Stuttering. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthlibrary/. Updated September 2012. Accessed November 19, 2012.

    Stuttering Information. National Stuttering Association website. Available at: http://www.nsastutter.org/stutteringInformation/generalInformation.html. Accessed November 19, 2012.

    The Experience of People who Stutter. National Stuttering Association website. Available at: http://www.westutter.org/opencms/export/sites/default/nsa/stutteringInformation/pdfs/NSAsurveyMay09.pdf. Updated July 2009. Accessed November 19, 2012.

    Yairi E: Subtyping stuttering I: a review. J Fluency Disord. 2007;32:165-96.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.