Health Topics

Stuttering (Disfluency)

Stuttering is a disorder that appears as an interruption in the smooth flow or “fluency” of speech. All breaks that occur in the flow of speech are labeled “disfluencies.”  All speakers may experience disfluent moments, especially under certain conditions, such as nervousness, stress, fatigue or complexity of language. People who stutter, however, generally tend to have more disfluencies and different kinds of disfluencies than other speakers.  In addition, they may develop negative feelings about their speech as a result of their speaking difficulties.  

Stuttering usually begins in early childhood when speech and language skills are expanding and other developmental learning is taking place. This typically occurs between the ages of 2 and 5, and in most cases, stuttering will vary widely across days and months. In most cases, the stuttering resolves on its own. Current data suggest that 75 percent to 80 percent of children who stutter at some time in their development will recover. 

For those who continue to stutter with consistency, early, effective treatment may leave them with little or no stuttering. 

Currently, more than 3 million Americans, or 1 percent of the population, stutter. Males are three to four times more likely to continue to stutter into adulthood than females.  

Many famous, successful people have dealt with stuttering in their lives. These include: Kenyon Martin, James Earl Jones, John Stossel, Darren Sproles, Bill Walton, Nicholas Brendon, Alan Rabinowitz, Carly Simon, Bob Love, and Marilyn Monroe. 

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Last Updated: 05/2013