• By Laurel Kelly

Consumer Health: Understanding stuttering

October 21, 2020
a mother comforting a stressed teenage daughter at the table in their kitchen

International Stuttering Awareness Day will be observed on Thursday, Oct. 22, which makes this a good time to learn more about this speech disorder.

Stuttering, also called stammering or childhood-onset fluency disorder, involves frequent and significant problems with normal fluency and flow of speech. People who stutter know what they want to say, but they have difficulty saying it. 

Stuttering is common among young children as a normal part of learning to speak. Young children may stutter when their speech and language abilities aren't yet developed enough to keep up with what they want to say. Most children outgrow this developmental stuttering.

Sometimes, however, stuttering is a chronic condition that persists into adulthood. This type of stuttering can affect self-esteem and interactions with other people.

Stuttering may be worse when people are excited, tired or under stress, or when they are feeling self-conscious, hurried or pressured. Situations such as speaking in front of a group or talking on the phone can be particularly difficult for people who stutter.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of stuttering, and when to see your health care provider or a speech-language pathologist.

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