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Help Spread the Word About Stuttering

Stuttering Awareness Week is May 8-14

More than 70 million people worldwide stutter. That’s about 1% of the total world population and over 3 million people in the US alone.

Stuttering is a communication disorder that affects the fluency of speech. It’s characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds or what are otherwise called disfluencies. These can be repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. Stuttering is also referred to as stammering.

There are four factors most likely to contribute to the development of a stutter:

  • Genetics : approximately 60% of those who stutter have a family member who does as well
  • Child Development : children with other speech/language problems or developmental delays are more likely to stutter
  • Neurophysiology : recent neurological research has shown that people who stutter process speech and language slightly differently than those who do not stutter
  • Family Dynamics : high expectations and fast-paced lifestyles can contribute to stuttering

Roughly 5% of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Most of those children will recover by late childhood, although about 1% will have a long-term problem. In some instances, the stutter will persist throughout the person’s entire lifetime. In most cases, stuttering has an impact on at least some daily activities, so it’s important to call attention to stuttering especially since the best prevention tool is early intervention.

There are a variety of successful approaches for treating both children and adults who have a stutter, and there are numerous examples of famous individuals who had stutters and went on to live successful lives.

Here are a few examples of authors who stuttered: Jorge Luis Borges, Lewis Carroll, Calvert Casey, Scott Damian, Charles Darwin, Margaret Drabble, Dominick Dunne, John Gregory Dunne, Robert A. Heinlein, Edward Hoagland, Phillip Larkin, Somerset Maugham, David Mitchell, Alan Rabinowitz, Jane Seymour, Marc Shell, Neville Shute, John Updike, and Vince Vawter.

Learn more about actors, singers, entertainers, and other famous people who stuttered on The Stuttering Foundation's website

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About the Author

Emma is an Adult Services Librarian with the New Berlin Public Library... Read More »

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