What is Stuttering?

Stuttering is a speech disorder which directly affects the fluency of speech. This is a speech problem that usually begins during the childhood and then lasts throughout one’s life. The speech sounds may get disrupted when a person stutters. The stuttering affects speech fluency and the person is not able to speak properly or even correctly. Additionally, stuttering may cause a person to take unusually long time to speak and finish sentences.

The disruptions in being able to produce sounds are known as disfluencies. They may not really be a problem, but in some cases, they may begin to impede natural flow of conversations, thus becoming problematic. In case a person produces too many disfluencies, it can have an impact on all the aspects of a person's life.

For a lot of people, stuttering occurs only when they are performing specific activities. This means that they may not always suffer from a stutter. However, for others, the stuttering is a permanent part of their speech and it may therefore limit their participation in a lot of important activities. Many people try to hide this problem by rearranging words or pretending to have forgotten what they were saying. Others save themselves from embarrassment by simply avoiding talking completely in public or at any gatherings.

Since there is a large embarrassment factor attached to stuttering, a lot of people avoid participating in activities. They also decline to speak in public events and may also avoid getting included in anything that requires them to speak publicly. They are afraid of how others would perceive their inability to speak fluently. They are also afraid of ridicule. The impact of stuttering is therefore more far reaching and may be both social as well as psychological in nature.

  1. Pirkko Rautakoski, Therese Hannus, Susanna Simberg, N. Kenneth Sandnabba, Pekka Santtila, Genetic and environmental effects on stuttering: A twin study from Finland, Journal of Fluency Disorders, Available online 28 February 2012, ISSN 0094-730X, 10.1016/j.jfludis.2011.12.003.
  2. Gerald A. Maguire, Christopher Y. Yeh, Brandon S. Ito, Overview of the Diagnosis and Treatment of Stuttering, Journal of Experimental & Clinical Medicine, Available online 2 March 2012, ISSN 1878-3317, 10.1016/j.jecm.2012.02.001.