Stuttering is one of the most common communication disorders. People who stutter will have disruptions with certain characteristics in the way they speak. These disruptions or disfluencies typically involve repetitions (repeating parts of words), stretching out sounds or prolongations, and difficulty in physically getting words out (different than word-finding) or blocks. Blocks are when tension builds in one’s lungs, throat, or jaw.
The patterns and degree of stuttering can be different for every person who stutters. It can even change from day to day as stuttering is often influenced by stress, excitement, anxiety, and other strong emotions.
Stuttering is up to three to four times more common in males than females. In the United States, it is estimated that among the adult population, about one percent or three million individuals have the disorder.
Stuttering interrupts the flow of speech. It may involve the repetition, prolongation, or blockage of a word or part of a word that a person is trying to say. Other physical movements, reflective of tension or struggle with speaking, such as eye blinks, head turns, or facial grimacing may be present. Stuttering severity may vary considerably from one day to another and from one situation to the next.
Fluency stuttering therapy may include full assessment, indirect and/or direct treatment (depending on the age of the child), and teaching of strategies for disfluent speech ranging from mild to profound. Parent education and training is a crucial part of fluency stuttering therapy. Likewise, the social-emotional impact of the condition is addressed with older children and adults who stutter.