FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Have A Question? Look Here.

Stuttering or stammering is a childhood-onset speech fluency disorder. It is a communication disorder. A person who stutters has their speech flow interrupted by repetitions, prolongations and blocks. They can repeat or prolong a sound, syllable or entire word.

The person can also exhibit unusual facial movements or body movements in an effort to get a word out. Learn more about stuttering right here.
Stuttering and stammering are synonymous. When a person faces disruptions in their flow of speech due to repetitions, prolongations and blocks they are said to stutter or stammer.
Typically four factors contribute to stuttering or stammering.

These factors include:

Genetics – There are multiple chromosomes that carry faulty or anomalous genes that correspond to stuttering. These genes can be passed down from the parents to their children. Current research shows that over 60% of the people who stutter have a family member who stutters as well. So, if you ask whether stuttering is hereditary, the answer is ‘yes.’

Neurophysiology – Brain imaging studies show significant differences in brain structure and function between those who stutter and those who don’t. Sommer et al (2002) studied the density of white matter fibre tracts in the left operculum of stuttering participants and a control group. Those who stutter showed less dense white matter fibre tracts that connect sensory, planning and motor areas.

Development – Children with other developmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder may be more prone to stuttering. You can read our guide on stuttering in preschool children for more information.

Environment – Overly competitive family environment, sudden changes in family dynamics, changes at school or a change in neighbourhood can bring about stuttering in an already vulnerable population of children. Children who don’t have any family members who stutter are less likely to develop stuttering under psychologically stressful situations.
Close to 5% of all children go through a phase of stammering. This phase can last from a couple of months or more. Although around 75% of children who have begun stuttering between the ages of 2 and 4 will recover. Around 1% of the children will retain their stuttering. A family history of stuttering and other developmental disorders are good indicators if the child will recover soon or have a lifelong stutter.
Early intervention with speech therapy is the best tool for stuttering treatment irrespective of the child’s age. The younger the child, the better are the outcomes for speech therapy for stuttering. If your child has been stuttering for more than 3 to 6 months, you should seek the help of an expert speech language pathologist for immediate treatment of stuttering.
Bullying is an act that may come from ignorance, and/or fear. Children who stutter can become victims of bullying by their classmates, teachers and even siblings. Bullying can be verbal, physical or both.

It typically comes from a person seeking power or esteem out of berating someone who seems vulnerable or by attacking someone who seems different from the majority.

Stuttering can cause an individual to stand out in their class or group, which can attract bullying.

The person resorting to bullying can be coming from a disturbed home, may have personal trauma, may be seeking attention or may simply be jealous of the attention the child is getting. More often than not, if you or your loved one is being bullied, talking to the bully in presence of a higher authority helps.

You can read our guide on how to prevent bullying of a child who stutters. Teachers, too, can play an important role in preventing bullying at school.
First, you must understand that people who are bullying you for having a speech disfluency are NOT your friends. Know that people who stutter are just as smart and intelligent as others.

Learn about people like King George VI, James Earl Jones, Charles Van Riper, Ed Sheeran, Bo Jackson, Emily Blunt and Nichole Kidman who have been widely popular, loved and successful despite their stuttering.

If you are a student, you can choose a science project or presentation to be on stuttering – the causes, psychological impact and treatment.

Educating your peers might actually help you and hundreds of others like you they might come across someday. If necessary, take help from your parents, teachers and speech therapists to create a stellar presentation on stuttering or stammering that will speak a thousand words to the entire grade.

If none of these work, it’s best to ignore knowing that you tried your best. Bullying and hurling insults shows the uglier sides of the bullies. Those words certainly don’t define you. Find out more about reining in the bullies here.
It is impossible for a parent to shield their child from every unfair incident, bad experience or bully they are going to come across in life. The best way to deal with any future or potential bullying is by sitting your child down and talking about how some kids and even adults can be rude to them simply because your child speaks differently.

Getting your child speech therapy and counselling can also help them cope with bullying and even stand up to it, if it’s an ongoing problem.

However, you must always make it a point to tell your child that it’s not their fault. Their stuttering is only a part of who they are. They can grow up to be actors, entrepreneurs, newscasters, journalists, politicians and whoever they choose to be. Read them inspiring stories of famous people who stutter. Encourage them and create a safe environment for them at home.
If you stutter, you may have already noticed that certain situations make you stutter more – talking on the phone, speaking in front of the entire class/work team, or talking to the person at the grocery checkout.

Well, anxiety, fear and shame do not cause stuttering, but these are feelings that often make existing stuttering much worse.

It is possible that certain situations cause you higher levels of stress, both physical and emotional. These are the situations that cause you to stutter more.

There might be people you find intimidating for a variety of reasons; talking in front of them can make your stutter worse.

There are a couple of ways to make your body and mind more relaxed, so you stutter less. You may even be able to channel your emotions in a positive manner to stutter less in high-octane situations. These include meditation, light mobility exercises and mindfulness for at least 20 minutes a day.
Your possibility of a full cure from stammering depends on how long you have been stammering. For children, who have been stuttering for less than a year, the treatment is easier and shorter.

Stuttering almost always has a lasting negative impact on the psychology of the person who stutters. Therefore, the treatment procedure for an adolescent or adult takes a much longer time. Stuttering treatment for adults often includes sessions with the speech-language pathologist, as well as sessions with a psychological counsellor or a cognitive behavioural therapist.

Due to prolonged stuttering and deep-set psychological trauma, adults often find it difficult to get rid of their speech disfluencies completely. Most therapies actually treat adults to stutter more fluently and freely so they can express themselves without struggling.

Find out about stuttering treatment for children, stuttering exercises for children and stammering therapy for adults at the Stamurai Blog.
We have come across many instances in the literature that shows a character’s speech development by following the method of putting a certain number of smooth pebbles or marbles in one’s mouth while speaking. However, in medical science, this practice has shown no positive results.

It is safe to say that it won’t work to reduce someone’s stammering or stuttering. It may harm their self-esteem and confidence.

Always consult with a speech therapist or speech-language expert before beginning exercises like these. Instead of putting pebbles or marbles in your mouth, you can try exercises recommended by experts to reduce your stuttering.
There is no scientific evidence supporting this treatment for stuttering. However, it is also true that people tend to stutter less or not stutter at all when reading or speaking alone.

These are parts of traditional beliefs about “cure of stuttering” that actually have little to no basis on medical science.

What you can do instead is meditate to relax yourself and your muscles, do light physical exercises and focus on your speech exercises given by a qualified speech-language pathologist.

If you find the exercises trite, you can always spice things up by setting new challenges for yourself and practising each day with Stamurai – the speech therapy app.
B.B. King, Carly Simon, Mel Tillis, Nancy Wilson and Ed Sheeran are all world-renowned singers who have stuttered throughout life. According to Dr Barry Guitar, understanding what reduces stammering during singing can help us stutter less while talking.

Singing doesn’t bear any communicative pressure or time pressure. We already know the words to the songs and our brain processes singing very differently from speaking.

Several studies show that when people listen to songs on their headphones while talking, it almost nullifies their stutter. Speech-language pathologists use singing therapy for stuttering in case of children and adults. Singing lessons can give your child more control over their breathing, vocal cords, muscles of the mouth and jaw. It can lessen the severity of stuttering in many.

Singing might not “cure” stuttering completely, but it will be a good relief for your son/daughter. Music is a social adhesive and people who stutter often find it easier to befriend people and make themselves at ease in new situations using their singing or playing skills. Moreover, singing is an additional skill that he or she can use while enrolling for colleges or uni.

While singing may not directly help your child’s stutter, it will be something he/she may be grateful for, later in life!
Singing utilizes parts of the brain that speaking doesn’t. Although we use our lips, tongue and vocal cords just the same, we do it a bit differently. While singing, there’s melody and rhythm. We already know the words to the songs. There is no time-pressure or communication pressure in a song.

A number of specialists use singing therapy for stuttering. A 1982 study shows over 90% reduction in stuttering upon 10 minutes of singing. Singing relieves more than one neurological problem, but it doesn’t reverse stuttering completely for good, especially in an adult who has been stuttering for years.
Currently, there are several electronic devices for the treatment of stuttering that actually work. There are four main auditory feedback types that help in reducing the frequency and intensity of stutter –

Delayed auditory feedback (DAF) – you can hear your own voice via headphones at 50 milliseconds delay.

Frequency-altered auditory feedback (FAF) – it shifts your voice’s pitch by typically half an octave.

Laryngeal auditory feedback (LAF) – you can hear the sound of vocal fold vibrations.

Synthesized auditory feedback (SAF) – comes as a synthesized tone that sounds like your own vocal fold vibration.

Studies show that all four auditory feedback types may reduce stuttering by around 80%. Anyone can use these devices since they require no prior training.
Delayed auditory feedback or DAF works by extending the time between the instant you utter a word and the instant you hear it. Experts also refer to it as delayed sidetone since it extends the time between one’s speech and their auditory perception.

Currently, DAF is being used in two ways –

The delay can be between 50 milliseconds and 70 milliseconds. It can reduce stuttering by an average of 70% while maintaining a normal speech rate. It requires no previous training, mental effort or atypical speech rate.

Experts can use a delay of around 200 milliseconds and then shorter delays for fluency shaping with a target of slow speech and stretched vowels.

DAF therapy works with two goals –

  • To enable the speaker to speak as fluently as possible irrespective of the complexity of the words and sentences.
  • Increasing the stress of the speaking situation using DAF while supporting their fluent speech to make the speaker as less reliant on the DAF device as possible.
There is no medical proof that acupuncture can reduce stuttering.
Hypnotherapy may be able to access the deep emotions that a stutterer harbours regarding stuttering, people’s reaction to stuttering and his/her self-limitations. However, without a working knowledge of the causes, implications, psychologies and potential treatment courses of stuttering, a hypnotherapist can do little to treat stuttering.

If you do come across a hypnotherapist, who is also a speech therapist, only then can hypnosis and speech therapy be applied together to address a person’s speech disfluencies.
Although it sounds improbable, relaxation techniques including regular meditation, guided meditation, light yogasanas and pranayamas can help people who stutter.

These techniques not only make people feel in control over their body but also alleviate physical and mental stress. We all know how a stressful situation can make one’s stutter much worse!

Gaining a deeper control of our feelings like anxiety, fear, and shame, we can ascend above the stressful situations that increase our stuttering. People who meditate regularly report that managing stressful situations in school or work becomes much easier by being able to focus on the positive aspects.
Stuttering is a childhood onset fluency disorder. Stuttering or stammering, by itself, does not indicate any developmental disorders. However, the severity of stuttering can lead to impaired communication and social skills in the child and eventually in their adulthood. So, stuttering is not to be taken lightly either.

You should take your child to a speech-language pathologist if you see symptoms of stuttering – facial grimaces, struggle and physical tension during speaking, repetitions or blocks. A speech-language pathologist will be able to determine the seriousness of your child’s stutter and begin necessary speech exercises to reduce the frequency and intensity of the same.
Children and adults with ADHD typically have reduced attention spans, increased hyperactivity and impulsivity. All these factors may contribute to the fluency and efficiency of those with ADHD. There is growing evidence between the links of ADHD and stuttering. Between 4% to 26% of children who stutter also have ADHD according to Healey and Reid (2003).

However, stuttering can occur without ADHD as well.
Adulthood stuttering, late-onset stuttering or acquired stuttering are all terms that define stuttering or stammering that has begun in adulthood. Apart from the recurrence of childhood stutter, there can be four main factors that can cause acquired stuttering –

  1. Neurogenic – Neurodegenerative diseases, brain trauma, and brain stroke can lead to stuttering in adults. Regular speech exercises and sessions with the speech-language pathologist can be instrumental in reducing the intensity of the stutter.
  2. Pharmacogenic – New medication or new dosage of medication can lead to sudden stuttering among adult patients. It is typically reversible by stopping the medicine or adjusting its dosage after talking to the healthcare provider.
  3. Psychogenic – It is comparatively rare, but it happens due to emotional trauma, stress or even PTSD. The stuttering can go away if the causal trauma is addressed via cognitive behavioural therapy or psychoanalysis.
  4. Idiopathic – This refers to stuttering that is occurring without any diagnosable cause. While it can be very disheartening for the patient and their family, restoring fluency can be possible to a certain degree with speech therapy and exercises.

More than one of the four causes can act together to cause acquired stuttering, which makes the job of professionals extremely challenging to diagnose and prescribe a proper course of treatment. Proper and complete medical history is necessary in each case of adult stuttering before the person can seek therapy.
Not sleeping properly for two nights may not cause lasting damage to the brain, but prolonged sleep deprivation can result in brain damage. Sleep-related disorders including sleep apnea can result in the lack of oxygen in the brain. The brain is the organ most sensitive to oxygen stress. It is likely that sleep disorders can contribute to early-onset stuttering in children by turning certain genes on.

Oxidative stress can lead to the damage of neuron structure and function. It can impair cognitive functions necessary for speech fluency and efficiency. For example – children with sleep-disorder related breathing have poor performance in academics and extracurricular activities as compared to children who sleep soundly. It may be due to the long-term potentiation effect caused by a prolonged lack of sleep.

Another study in 2002, conducted by Macey et al shows the presence of brain lesions in people with obstructive sleep apnea. In the study group, 8 out of 21 adult participants had a history of stuttering, and they showed lesions in the Broca’s area – the area of the brain related to speech production.
Blocks are at the heart of stuttering. Some describe blocks to have characters of their own because it’s difficult to predict when they will come and how long they will last.

They make the speaker feel a loss of control. A block can make the speaker feel significant tension in the jaw muscles, tongue, throat and, even, in their lungs.
Every person faces some amount of disfluency. It is especially common in children.

It is easy to mistake normal disfluency for developmental stuttering in kids. The occasional repetition of syllables or short words, brief pauses and use of filler sounds or words like “err”, “umm” or “uh” is typical of children between 18 months and 7 years.

Most people typically stutter on around 10% of the words. Those with a severe stutter may have difficulty speaking around 50% of the words.

The percentage of disfluency can vary significantly depending upon the severity of the stammer, but it is indeed common for anyone to stutter on a couple of words now and then.
Home plays a crucial role in the emotional and intellectual development of a child. If your child has begun stuttering recently, you should consult a speech therapist, but there are quite a few things you can do at home to make sure their speech regains fluency.

At home, you can allot more play-time or interaction time with your child. During this time you can read each other stories, enact scenes out of movies or plays, or simply engage in building lego forts! You child should have your attention.

Pay extra attention to what your child is saying. If his/her speech is severely stuttered, politely ask them to repeat themselves. When they say a particularly difficult word clearly, be sure to praise them.

Remember to NOT rush them. be patient. Give them the priority and allow them the time to express themselves.

Most importantly, when talking to them, you need to slow down and introduce sufficient pauses in your speech.

If you are going to a paediatric speech therapist, he/she is likely to introduce you to indirect therapy for stuttering in children. Apart from that, you can follow the instructions in this blog to keep your child engaged at home without making it too boring for them.
A mental disorder is a psychiatric disorder, which may be characterized by behavioural patterns. It may result in distress or disruption of personal functioning.

Stuttering is a result of multiple factors including mutations in multiple genes, anomalies in brain structure and neuronal function, and environment. It is a psychosomatic disorder since it involves both the body and the mind – emotions do cause more intense blocks and repetitions, but it is in no way what we traditionally refer to as a mental disorder.

However, stuttering can result in depleting mental health of children and adults who have faced bullying, discrimination and negligence over the years. It can cause anxiety and stress-related problems, depression, aversion towards social interactions and more.

Some mental disorders may cause a person to stutter, but stuttering by itself is not a mental disorder.
Stuttering is a developmental disorder with strong genetic and neurological components. Stuttering or stammering has no medicinal cure, but some pharmaceutical compounds can relax the blocks and reduce the repetitions.

Drugs like alprazolam (anti-anxiety), citalopram (SSRI) and clomipramine (serotonergic) have shown a significant reduction of stuttering in several studies over the years.

Despite serious side effects, haloperidol, a first-generation dopamine blocker reduces stuttering by improving the fluency and reducing stutter.

The debilitating side-effects of most dopamine blockers have inspired the development of new-age pharmaceutical compounds like Ziprasidone, Aripiprazole, and Clonidine which currently show maximum promise with the minimal number of side effects.

Now, these are all pharmaceutical compounds that bear promise, but the drug that can cure stuttering is far away. These drugs can only treat the symptoms – repetitions, blocking and prolongation, to a certain extent.
Developmental stuttering may begin anytime between the ages of 2 and 3.5 years. It can resemble normal disfluency as any child learning language at a rapid rate and expanding their vocabulary can experience brief moments of disfluency.

More than 75% of the children who develop stuttering at such a young age will recover on their own. However, some, who have been stuttering for over 3 to 6 months to a year, may retain stuttering for life.

Boys stutter more frequently than girls. So, if you have a girl child who has been stuttering for a year or so, there’s a good chance she will stutter as an adult as well.

It is also possible to reduce or relieve stuttering completely with the help of speech therapy. Since most preschool-aged children have borderline stuttering, it is easier to correct their speech via daily exercises and therapy.

Speak to an experienced and qualified speech-language pathologist if you notice that your child has been stuttering for longer than three months.

You can also try stuttering exercises with your child to reduce their communication struggles.
Renowned psychiatrists have noted that antipsychotics like clozapine can induce stuttering in adults.

Other drugs include theophylline, phenothiazine, several antidepressants like fluoxetine, sertraline, dothiepin, amitriptyline, and desipramine, multiple neuroleptic agents including propranolol, methylphenidate (Ritalin), pemoline, benzodiazepines and alprazolam can cause stuttering.

Drug-induced stuttering is referred to as pharmacogenic stuttering. Typically, stopping the intake of the drugs or adjusting the dosage by consulting the doctor can revert the symptoms of stuttering in the patient.
Stuttering that results from psychological trauma or an emotionally disturbing event. It is a form of acquired or adulthood, late-onset stuttering.

Since there are no overt signs that distinguish psychogenic stuttering from other forms of acquired stuttering, it is challenging to diagnose.

A person who normally stutters should not do so while singing or talking alone. However, if he or she still stutters in these scenarios, his or her stuttering is likely to be neurogenic or psychogenic, unless a new medicine is involved in the equation.

Only when the possibilities of neurogenic stuttering have been ruled out by experts, a particular case can be classified as psychogenic stuttering. Neurogenic and psychogenic stuttering can occur together, which makes it even more difficult for speech-language pathologists and other specialists to diagnose psychogenic stuttering.
According to NIDCD and ASHA, between 5% and 10% of children stutter at some point between the ages of 2 and 6 years. Even as adults, we go through phases of speech disfluencies especially during times of high pressure, anxiety or stress.

Normally, people stutter for less than 5% of the words they speak. Any more than 5% can fall under the category of borderline stuttering.

According to Dr Barry Guitar and many other speech-language pathologists, anyone who shows stammering symptoms on more than 10% of the words they speak may have a stutter.

In reality, every percentage of stuttering is normal. For the convenience of treatment, speech-language pathologists have classified individuals who stutter into borderline or advanced cases. However, anyone who stutters with any level of intensity is completely normal. Stuttering is normal and more people need to understand that and accept that.
According to the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, people who stutter have considerably different structure and function of brain regions responsible for the processing and production of speech.

Brain imaging studies by Chang et al in 2008 among children who have recovered from stuttering and those who still stutter show lesser density of grey matter around the Broca’s area in both groups. Another study by Watkins et al in 2008 shows that slightly older children seem to have a similar structural abnormality in the left hemisphere of their brain.

A study published by Cykowski et al in 2010 echoed the findings of the two studies mentioned above.

It is quite clear that the anomalies in brain structure contribute to stuttering. However, stuttering, in itself, does not affect the brain directly.

Stuttering can attract negative reactions that can result in depression, anxiety, stress and avoidance behaviour, which can affect the brain.
Firstly, we have to understand that autism is not a disease; it’s a spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder can have a wide range of symptoms which sometimes includes patterns of disfluent speech.

According to expert Kathleen S Scott, individuals with autism often exhibit varying degrees of fluidity, discontinuity, ease of effort and rate of speech. There has been a significant rise in the rate of autism diagnosis in the last decade relating stuttering to autism, time and again.

If you think you or your child may have both autism and speech disfluency, it is better to consult a speech language pathologist who exclusively focuses on treating autistic individuals. Or, you can go to two separate individuals for the diagnoses.

However, not everyone who stutters falls under the autism spectrum disorder. And not every autistic individual stutters.
Stuttering can happen to anyone, especially, children who are 2 to 3.5 years old. However, when it’s happening out of the blue to an adult, it might not have a developmental cause like in the cases of children stuttering.

So, yes, stuttering can be a result or symptom of PTSD. Any emotional or psychological trauma, even physical trauma can set off post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

It can be a violent accident, or an abusive relationship. Anything that reminds the person of the unfortunate and unpleasant events can trigger psychogenic stuttering.

Stuttering can also be a reinforcement of borderline stuttering or speech disfluencies in individuals who have faced social traumas due to their speech disfluency – much like a positive feedback loop.

Embarrassment, shame, fear and anxiety are all companions of PTSD that can also precipitate already present stuttering. These factors can also cause a full-blown relapse of stuttering in a person who used to stutter as a child.
Two individuals who stutter, may do so with different levels of intensity. There are five basic levels of disfluency that depends on the core behaviours, secondary behaviours, and feelings and attitudes.

Normal disfluency – The disfluency is less than 10% of the total number of words the individual speaks. There are no secondary behaviours or effects on feelings/attitudes.

Borderline disfluency – The frequency of disfluency is more than 10%. The person repeats or blocks more than twice at every instance. Repetitions are still loose and relaxed. There are no secondary behaviours associated with borderline disfluency, but the person may be aware of their stuttering a little bit.

Beginning stuttering – The prolongations are more tense. There are abrupt and multiple part-word repetitions. Secondary behaviours include a rise in pitch, increased tension with articulatory posturing, inclusion of escape behaviours and difficulty in initiation of voicing and airflow. The person develops early fear, anticipation, awareness and frustration of speaking.

Intermediate stuttering – Blocks, repetitions and prolongations are particularly prominent and tense. The person begins to avoid feared words and situations as secondary behaviour. The speaker feels shame, embarrassment and fear.

Advanced stuttering – There are blocks, air flow blocks and tremors. Secondary behaviour includes avoidance of feared words and situations, anticipation and scanning before speaking. Emotions can range from helplessness and frustration, to anger and resentment.

To decipher how severe your or your child’s stuttering is, you should visit a speech-language pathologist. It is often difficult to follow the frequency of repetitions, blocks and prolongations, to determine one’s level of stuttering.

It is best done by an expert.

You can also use supporting apps like Stamurai to improve your fluency along with regular speech therapy sessions guided by a professional.
Many people who stutter experience no disfluency when they read aloud, especially if they don’t feel emotionally pressured. For example, if you stutter, reading a book aloud in your own room, or the presence of your pet is unlikely to cause you to stutter.

However, classroom reading, giving a presentation or reading out in front of a group of people can cause your stutter to become worse.

This happens because stuttering depends on your emotions and attitudes. If you are afraid of public speaking and you have had unfavourable experiences with public reading before, you might stutter worse while reading aloud.

There are very few exceptions. Only a handful-few do not stutter when reading from a book. Even Joe Biden recounts his horrifying experience when he had to read out passages in front of the entire class and how his teacher was the bully on that particular occasion.
According to paediatricians and dental experts, excessive use of pacifiers can cause misalignment of milk teeth and permanent teeth. Ear, nose and throat (ENTs) experts state that they can increase the risk of otitis media or middle ear infections.

However, currently, there are no research findings that could establish a direct link between the speech articulations of developing children with the use of pacifiers. The study included groups of children with a history of pacifier use up to 15 months and 18-55 months. None of the groups showed any correlation between pacifier use and stuttering.
A majority of people who stutter state that they don’t stutter when talking aloud alone. However, there are still a few (5 – 12%), who stutter while alone.

Stuttering is heterogeneous in nature and it would be a mistake to state that everyone who stutters can speak fluently when talking alone.

According to a study published by a group of Russian researchers, 65.67% of participants didn’t stutter when talking alone. Moreover, 27.4% don’t stutter while talking to their pets.

One of the leading factors that may contribute to fluency in certain situations is the lack of emotional stress. People who stutter don’t need to feel fear, anxiety or shame while talking alone or talking to a pet. However, these are prominent when there’s an audience.

You can think of stuttering or stammering as a response to your speaking situation. When you don’t have an audience, you don’t feel the pressure to produce perfect speech. Your brain automatically finds the right words, strings them together and your breathing remains normal enough to allow your vocal cords to produce the sounds correctly.
It is a common myth that people who stutter have lower intellect and impaired comprehension. Studies show that the brain structures responsible for speech processing and production in those who stutter are different from fluent speakers. It impairs their ability to produce fluent speech.

Studies don’t show any anomalies in the structures of the brain that control or affect understanding. Neither the Broca’s area nor the Wernicke area contributes to the comprehension of spoken or written speech.

It would be wrong to assume that since a person has difficulty speaking fluently, he or she will also have a slower understanding or lower levels of comprehension.
Developmental stuttering is indeed more common in males. One reason is that girls have a higher natural ability to recover when they are between 2 to 3.5 years old.

A recent study at the NIDCD and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, led by Dr Soo-Eun Chang, involved comparing the fMRI results of stuttering and non-stuttering participants. While the results show that there are fewer connections between the brain areas involved in motor planning and execution of those who stutter, women who stutter have distinctly more connections as compared to men who stutter.

Research shows that stuttering that runs in families has more than one genetic component and it is this type of stuttering which is more likely to conform to the gender bias. Researchers say that for men who stammer, 22% of their biological sons and 9% of their biological daughters are likely to stutter as well.

Since stuttering is a symptom caused by heterogeneous factors in the brain and neural connections, it is indeed difficult to say exactly why stuttering is more common in males, but the study led by Soo-Eun Chung, PhD, provides an answer.
Typically, girls have the ability to recover from stuttering naturally without therapy. Boys who begin stuttering at a young age may continue to stutter into adulthood. Therefore, adult stuttering has a significant bias towards the male populace. The exact ratio may vary according to region, but the global ratio of males to females who stutter varies between around 3 to 1 and 5 to 1.
Around 8% of children are likely to go through a brief period of stuttering during their early preschool years. Children between the ages of 2 and 5 typically go through a couple of months of stammering. Girls are more likely to recover after 3 to 6 months. However, if she hasn’t recovered even after a year (with or without therapy), she is more likely to stutter for life.

If your girl child is showing signs of stammering, you should immediately take her to the speech-language pathologist. Correcting stuttering is much easier at a younger age when negative emotions and attitudes are less likely to develop in the child.

Stuttering has a gender bias, which makes girls who have recovered from early-age stuttering less likely to stutter in their adult life. However, for every 5 men who stutter, there is at least one woman who stutters too.
If your toddler has begun stuttering, it is likely developmental in nature. Roughly, 8% of children across the globe stutter between the ages of 2 years and 5 years due to the rapid learning process they go through. If your child hasn’t recovered from stuttering even after 3 to 6 months, you should begin taking some steps towards speech therapy.

You can begin at home by ensuring that you –

  • Talk slowly and clearly.
  • Don’t use big words.
  • Don’t rush them.
  • Give them time to finish their sentences.
  • Set time apart for interactive play.
  • Don’t react negatively to blocks, repetitions or prolongations.
  • Ask them to repeat words politely when their speech is too disfluent.
  • Give them praises for smoothly saying difficult words.
  • Talk to your child about stuttering if he/she asks about it.
  • Read them stories of successful individuals who stutter.
  • Don’t discourage them from speaking in public.
  • Talk to their teachers about their speech disfluency.
  • Seek the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and share your family history of stuttering.

You can find more about how you can help your child with stuttering during the lockdown and quarantine right here.
Stammering is caused by multiple factors. In most cases, it is hereditary and genetic. People who stutter have subtle anomalies in the speech processing and production centres of their brains. It is not caused by stress or anxiety. Therefore, reducing stress or negative emotions can only reduce the intensity of stuttering.

For preschool-aged children, who have begun stammering 3 to 6 months ago, there’s a higher chance of recovery. More than 75% of the children may recover on their own without therapy. However, therapy is necessary for those who have been stuttering for over a year, especially if they are girls. Speech therapy at an early age is particularly effective. And reports show that these children grow up without the memory of speech disfluency or the therapy in multiple cases.

In the cases of developmental stuttering, where a person has been stuttering since early childhood, speech therapy is one of the most effective options. In such cases, stammering can never be cured completely, especially, if the person begins therapy as an adult.

Nonetheless, there is no reason to lose hope since therapy can add fluency to your speech and reduce the intensity of stuttering at any age.

Acquired stuttering or stammering that occurs suddenly during adulthood can be neurogenic, psychogenic, pharmacogenic or idiopathic in nature. Apart from idiopathic stuttering, almost all three types of stammering can be addressed and, sometimes, even cured. Specialists can address or remove the causal factor unless it is a neurodegenerative condition or some other fast progressing disease of the nerves.
Stuttering and intelligence – they have a much-debated relationship since the beginning of time!

Since people who stutter take more time in expressing their thoughts, many believe them to be slow thinkers or less intelligent in general. However, that’s completely untrue. History is filled with incidences of geniuses who have stuttered throughout life.

Even today, you can come across outstanding songwriters, singers, actors, politicians, entrepreneurs, academicians, medical professionals and scientists who stutter.
It’s an old wives tale that applying honey on the tongue of the newborn prevents stuttering.

It is clear enough that it has an insufficient scientific basis and medically, honey has no special property that stops stuttering.

Today, several households still have the practice of rubbing honey on the tongue of a person who stutters. If you have a sweet tooth, we see no harm in eating a little honey every day. It has plenty of antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can also soothe a sore throat!

So, honey may not cure stammering, but it sure does leave a sweet taste in one’s mouth.
8% of all children stutter between the ages of 2 and 4 years when they are picking up new words and syntaxes at a rapid rate. Typically, 75% of them outgrow stammering on their own. So, there are two main concerns here –

  • If your child hasn’t outgrown stuttering in 3 to 6 months, you should take them to a speech-language pathologist. Boys are more likely to stutter through life than girls, so if you have a male child, this point is particularly applicable.
  • If your girl child hasn’t outgrown stuttering in a year, there’s a good chance she’ll stutter for life. You should consult a speech therapist immediately.
CONTACT US

Don’t See Your Question? Don’t Worry.

You can contact us if you have any other query. Our support team is always happy to help.