by Makenzie Dunn; Mt. Washington Middle School (Mt. Washington, KY)

Many people stutter. Even famous people like Mark Anthony, Emily Blunt, and the third US president Thomas Jefferson. Stuttering is something that people shouldn’t be embarrassed about. More than 70 million people stutter, according to the Stuttering Foundation.

Speaking can be challenging for someone who stutters? How can someone help? Credit: National Institutes of Health.


     Most stutters usually occur in the family. Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken into repetitions. The characteristics of stuttering are repetitive words such as “I, I, I, I, I know a lot of information.” With audible flow m, m, m, m, m, mom. People who stutter may experience varying fluency.

     The Stuttering Foundation says that children with other speech problems are most likely to stutter. Recent neurological studies have said that people who stutter process speech differently than people who do not stutter. Approximately 5% children go through a period of stuttering. Stuttering affects four times as many males as females.

     Nemours Foundation and Kids Health say that about 60% of those who stutter have a close family member who stutters. People who stutter process language in a different part of the brain than people who do stutter says Nemours. There is a problem because the way the brains messages interact with the muscles and body parts needed for speaking.   High increased activity level, which means total energy cost of physical activity throughout the day, also causes stuttering. Other speech problems or developmental delays such as disfluency, voice disorders, and articulation disorders also cause stuttering.

     On the TV program Americas Got Talent a comedian named Drew Llynch was in a car accident which made him stutter.

     Boston Children’s Hospital says that a parent might need help when their child is constantly stuttering. Especially when whole words and phrases become excessive and constant. When speech starts to be excessively strained, you need to find as stuttering doctor or therapist. Make sure the doctor or therapist that you or your child go to can actually help you or your child. I would recommend going to a physical therapist first. You or you child need to think hard about finding things that can possibly help you stop.

     Nemours also says that if a child stutters a parent can actually help them. When you are talking to the child make it fun and enjoyable. If you are having dinner with the child use that as a conversation time. You can also tell them to slow down and take their time while they are speaking. The child might like to talk so don’t ever tell them to start over.

     For younger children it is important to predict if their stuttering is likely to continue. An evaluation of people who stutter consists of a series of tests, observations, and interviews. There is a very high risk for the child to continue to stutter. Although there is some disagreement among speech language pathologists about risks for factors that are most important to consider.

     You can also help the child by maintaining natural eye contact. Try not to look away or show signs of being upset. Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child. Talking slowly takes a lot of practice. Let the child speak for his or herself.

         A friend of mine used to stutter. He was helped and now talks normally. He went to a physical therapist and she helped him through it.

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Makenzie Dunn