STAMMERING

STAMMERING CAUSES AND CURES

Having a stammer can have a significant impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being, as well as self-worth. Everyday life can be an obstacle course. 

The causes of stammering have perplexed people who stammer, researchers and therapists for centuries. But we are getting closer to finding the answers.

STAMMERING CAUSES AND CURES

There is no cure for stammering.

Most stammering develops during childhood and is a neurological, rather than a psychological, condition. Subtle changes within the brain result in a physical difficulty in talking.

Stammering isn’t caused by anxiety or stress, although people may stammer more when stressed or anxious. 

It is often a hereditary condition – about 60% of people who stammer have another family member who stammers. Most adults who stammer, around 75%, are male. When it begins in childhood, this is known as developmental stammering.

  • Looking for help? See our Get Support section for information about stammering therapies.

Around 8%* of children, boys and girls, will go through a short period of stammering between the ages of two and five. Short means months rather than years. The stammer may come and go during childhood, but if it continues into adulthood, then it’s likely to be a lifelong condition. Up to 3%* of adults in the UK say that they stammer.

(*Until recently these figures have been 5% of children and 1% of adults. We have increased them as a result of our research, which you can read about in our article ‘Stammering in the Population’.)

STAMMERING CAUSES AND CURES

A far rarer form of stammering, known as acquired stammering or adult onset stammering usually occurs later in life. The main causes are a head injury, a stroke or a condition such as Parkinson’s disease. 

STAMMERING CAUSES AND CURES

Situations that fluent speakers take for granted can be really tricky for those who stammer. These can include:

  • Introducing yourself (eg at school, at work or socially).
  • Ordering a coffee.
  • Giving your name at a reception desk.
  • Navigating a voice-activated helpline menu.
  • Talking on the phone.
  • Using a smart speaker.
  • Using an intercom.

 

By Olalekan Awodehinde

Olalekan Awodehinde is a seasoned investigative reporter.

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