Answering this question always feels complicated. The truth is, well…we don’t know for sure what causes stuttering just yet. However, we have a good idea of areas that may be involved, and we can also exclude certain past myths thanks to recent research.
Hopefully there is more information to come in our lifetime, but here are a few things we know about Stuttering:
- Approximately 1% of the population stutters worldwide (that’s over 68 million people worldwide). Stuttering exists in all languages, countries, and cultures.
- Approximately 5% of children go through a period of stuttering, while 1% will continue to persist into adulthood.
- Recent research supports a neurologic and genetic basis, with possible links to temperament and language/motor development.
- Stuttering is highly variable, it can vary based on a number of factors (situation, person, day, type of stuttering, presentation of stuttering behaviors, under the surface reactions, etc.). Understanding this natural variability is critical for both people who stutter as well as listeners.
- Stuttering is NOT psychological or caused by anxiety or nervousness.
- What you see on the surface is just a small glimpse of what the underlying experience may be for the person who stutters. Stuttering can impact a person’s thoughts and feelings, overall outlook on life, and their self-esteem.
A few recommended Stuttering 101s: SFA, Friends, NSA, and SAY.
Stuttering: A Short Animation Film.
Documentary which will leave you with a true understanding of the experience of stuttering.
Listen to this StutterTalk podcast for a thorough rundown of neurological research/ findings.
Listen to learn more about genetics.