Published on March 8, 2024 at 8:00 / Updated on March 26, 2024 at 8:00

Stuttering is a speech disorder that usually appears in childhood, between the ages of 2 and 5. When the person speaks, symptoms may be present all the time or may only occur at certain moments. For the vast majority of people, symptoms will disappear spontaneously after the age of 6. They can also persist into adulthood.

Stuttering is characterized by repetitions and blocks that prevent the affected individual from maintaining fluent speech:

  • Repeating sounds, syllables, or words
  • Prolonging sounds
  • Adding sounds or words (e.g., "uh")
  • Moving the body and face during speech (tics)
  • Experiencing the inability to say certain words

Causes and triggers

The causes of stuttering are not currently known. However, we do know that stuttering is not caused by trauma, shyness, or a lack of intelligence. It seems that this speech disorder could be attributed to genetics. We also know that it is more common among males and that people with a family history of stuttering are more likely to develop the disorder.

Symptoms can worsen during times of stress, fatigue, or intense emotions. They can lead to anger, embarrassment, and frustration. In some cases, the affected individual may also avoid or stop talking altogether.


Treatment for stuttering is mainly done by a speech-language pathologist - a professional who specializes in communication disorders. They can suggest simple adaptations and mindset changes to improve the patient's communication abilities. A speech-language pathologist can also help the affected person identify the factors that accentuate their stuttering.

When should I see a healthcare professional?

First, you should know that it is never too late to intervene. In young children, the earlier treatment is started, the more beneficial it will be. You should consult a healthcare professional in the following circumstances:

  • Your child has been stuttering for over 12 months
  • Your child who is stuttering is over 4 years old
  • Your child or the people around them are reacting strongly to it
  • Your child who is stuttering has one or more family members who stutter persistently
  • You are concerned about your child's speech or your own fluency
  • The stuttering is becoming more frequent or prolonged
  • The stuttering is accompanied by unusual body tension or movements
  • The stuttering is causing the affected person to avoid situations where they might have to speak.

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