What is stuttering?

Stuttering occurs when the flow of speech is interrupted. Such interruptions may include:

  • The prolonging of speech sounds
  • Frequent repetitions
  • Difficulty in beginning to speak a new word
  • Feeling tense upon trying to speak

People who stutter may have tremors of the lips and/or jaw. They may exhibit rapid eye blinks or have other movements in the face or upper body. These movements may be used by the person who stutters in an effort to attempt to begin speaking. Stuttering is also called stammering.

Who is affected by stuttering?

Although it can affect anyone, stuttering is most often found in young children (ages 2-6) who are still learning to talk. Most children stop stuttering as they age, and less than 1 percent of adults stutter. Boys are three times more likely to stutter than girls. It is estimated that 3 million Americans stutter.

What causes stuttering?

Stuttering may be caused by various factors and seems to run in families. However, no gene or genes for stuttering have been found.