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Are There Different Causes of Stuttering?

By Jacob Queen
Updated: Feb 01, 2024

The question of whether there are different causes of stuttering has been debated heavily in scientific circles. Overall, a general consensus has developed that there might be more than one cause, but all of them are thought to be primarily physical. Although emotions and environmental factors during childhood might make the problem worse or better, the primary causes of stuttering appear to be related to the way the brain operates while a person is speaking.

Some studies suggest people who stutter are very likely to suffer from a large variety of emotional problems. Over the years, there have been many scientists who made a direct connection between these emotional difficulties and stuttering problems. Among many experts, it was generally decided that these emotional disorders were the result of social issues related to growing up with a stuttering problem rather than actual causes of stuttering.

There is evidence to suggest that emotional difficulties might also work to aggravate a stuttering issue that is already present. Even people who have had therapy to control stuttering can have some of their problems re-develop when they become nervous, afraid, or angry. For some people, one of the primary aspects of stuttering therapy is learning to control emotions so that they can maintain good smooth speech patterns.

There have also been some questions about whether one of the causes of stuttering might be neglect or child abuse. In a broad sense, the evidence generally does not suggest that this is the case, but experts have identified a possible connection. Many children have an issue with stuttering during their lives, but most of them eventually learn to speak without difficulty. It is possible that children raised in difficult environments might not receive the care they need to overcome their stuttering problems. So, in essence, even though the origin of their stuttering problems may not be related to their upbringing, the severity of the problems might be.

Regardless of the causes of stuttering, treatments will generally work better when applied to younger children. People who are older often have a much harder time overcoming stuttering problems, although there are some success stories, and usually people are able to achieve some level of improvement. Sometimes when treating younger children, the main therapy involves the parents totally changing their day-to-day speech patterns so that the child can better learn to speak smoothly by listening to them. In adults, therapy for stuttering often involves the person learning an entirely different approach to speaking.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon166043 — On Apr 07, 2011

I cured my children of stuttering by having them crawl on the floor, half hour each night. They crawled around objects, sometimes moved hands different from the knees. After a week, stuttering went away, then it came back. so we started crawling again, and the stuttering went away. this happened four times. Children are now 38 years old and don't stutter. It has worked for everyone I have told.

It also works if you want steady hands for intricate work or confidence in life. It may be due that we were not designed to walk or we were taught to walk too early as a baby.

By anon165034 — On Apr 03, 2011

The one case I personally have seen was my young cousin, about eight or nine, who stuttered badly.

I thought I knew the cause was his screaming, yelling, critical, father who constantly browbeat him. One day I simply hypnotized him and he stopped stuttering to this day and still thanks me once in a while. R.S.

By anon165019 — On Apr 03, 2011

The article on stuttering is fine, but doesn't reach the known accomplishments that helped some to overcome their stuttering. Demosthenes, for example, put small pebbles in his mouth to learn how to speak without stuttering. Mel Tillis, the great country singer, had a notorious problem with stutterning when he spoke, but was able to sing without any problem at all. He did undergo therapy and this helped him overcome his speech problem and apparently has few relapses. So, how is it that pebbles helped cure ones' ability to speak and another could sing flawlessly without stuttering?

By anon164985 — On Apr 03, 2011

I thought correct breathing played an important roll in any treatment. I worked at a speech clinic, and there were exercises which proved a great help.

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