Straight, No Chaser: About Stuttering


How do you respond when you hear someone stutter? Are you a stutterer, and if so, how do you handle it? Let’s answer 7 frequency asked questions to facilitate some understanding (and hopefully compassion) about stuttering.
What is stuttering?
Simply put, stuttering is a communication disorder, notable for what’s called disfluencies. These disruptions in speech flow may or may not hinder ability to speak and understand others. There are typically three types of difficulties with the effort to speak in stuttering:

  • Abnormal stoppages (no sounds produced)
  • Prolongations: (“llllllike this”)
  • Repetitions: “li-li-like this”

Why do people stutter?
Causes and/or development of stuttering is typically attributable to four factors:

  • Genetics/family history (approximately 60% will have another stutterer in the family)
  • Child development (those other over developmental delays or speech/language disorders are more likely to stutter)
  • Neurophysiology (stutterers have been shown to have actual differences in how their brains process language and speech from those who do not)
  • Behavioral considerations (faster-paced lifestyles with high expectations seem to contribute to stuttering)


Who is more likely to stutter?
Appropriately 5% of children go through a stuttering phase that lasts at least six months (About 75% with recover, especially with early intervention).
How many people are affected?
More than 70 million people worldwide stutter (approximately 1% of people). Males stutter more often than females with about a 4:1 ratio among stutterers.

stuttering FAQ1

Is stuttering part of a psychological disorder?
No. Stutterers are no more likely to have psychological disorders than non-stutterers.
When should I see help for stuttering?
Whenever the need is felt. As with most health matters, there’s no harm in early evaluation. However, if stuttering persists beyond 3 to 6 months or as somehow disabling socially or impeding the ability to communicate, help should be obtained as soon as possible.
How is stuttering treated?
First off, there are no miracle cures, so don’t fall for any scams suggesting otherwise. Successful treatment involves enlisting a speech-language pathologist. Most treatment programs are designed to teach specific skills or behaviors that lead to improved speaking, such as controlling the rate at which a stuttering speaks.
There are many great organizations that provide assistance, such as The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the National Stuttering Association, Stuttering Foundation of America.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
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