The cause of stuttering is not completely understood. Some experts have suggested that stuttering may occur when:
- A child's ability to speak does not match his verbal demands
- There are psychological factors in a child’s life such as mental illness, extreme stress
- Problems occur in the connections between muscles, nerves, and areas of the brain that control speech
- There are problems in the part of the brain that controls the timing of speech muscle activation
|Muscles and Nerves Involved in Speech|
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Symptoms may include:
- Repetition of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases
- Prolongation of sounds within words
- Between-word pauses and lack of sound
- Spurting speech
Accompanying behaviors, such as:
- Facial ticks
- Lip tremors
- Tense muscles of the mouth, jaw, or neck
- Worsening symptoms when speaking in public
- Improvement in symptoms when speaking in private
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis may be based on:
- Stuttering history
- Circumstances under which stuttering occurs
- Speech and language capabilities
- Evaluation of hearing and motor skills, including a pediatric and neurological examination
- Further testing and treatment by a speech language pathologist who specializes in communication disorders
Treatment can improve stuttering. The main goal is to get and maintain a feeling of control over speech fluency. The doctor or speech therapist can:
- Evaluate the stuttering pattern
- Assess what strategies may work best
Treatment may include:
- Behavioral therapy—This focuses on behavior modifications that can be made to improve fluency.
- Speech therapy—A primary goal of this type of therapy is to slow the rate of speech.
There is little evidence to support the use of drugs to improve speech fluency.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Stammering; Disfluent Speech)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association http://www.asha.org
The Stuttering Foundation http://www.stutteringhelp.org
Canadian Stuttering Association http://www.stutter.ca
University of Alberta—Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research http://www.istar.ualberta.ca
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