Stuttering issues have a new spotlight, as President Joe Biden has openly discussed his experience with stuttering. This not only normalizes stuttering in the culture, but also provides hope to children and adults across the world who stutter. It’s a great time to revisit what we know about this disorder.
What causes stuttering? There is no single cause of stuttering, but ASHA has detailed several correlating factors:
- Family history – Many people who stutter have a family member who also stutters. Children with family members who continued to stutter into adulthood are more likely to continue stuttering.
- Brain differences – People who stutter may have slight differences in the way their brain functions while speaking. New research has highlighted important findings regarding stuttering and its relationship to brain circuitry (review here).
- Gender – While both boys and girls stutter, boys are more likely to continue stuttering past the 2-5 year range than girls.
- Age when stuttering began – Children who start stuttering after the age of 3½ are more likely to continue stuttering.
Does stuttering mean you are anxious? No. Stuttering is not psychologically-based. Someone might stutter regardless of their level of anxiety. It is true that anxiety or other strong emotions may make stuttering worse, but it is not the cause.
Is there a cure for stuttering? No. Treatment by a speech-language pathologist typically involves a variety of therapies and techniques to address the affective, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of stuttering. It’s an individualized process which provides the person with strategies to deal with the challenges that stuttering presents.
For more information about stuttering, check out the links below!