Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit, the AAFP patient education website.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Stuttering: What You Should Know


Am Fam Physician. 2008 May 1;77(9):1278.

  See related article on stuttering.

What is stuttering?

Stuttering is a speech problem that makes it hard to say certain words or sounds. People who stutter may repeat sounds, words, or parts of words. They may also pause longer than normal between sounds and words. They may blink their eyes, jerk their jaw, or move their head when they stutter.

Who gets it?

Anyone can stutter, but it usually happens in young children who are learning to talk. Most children stop stuttering before they become adults.

How do I know if my child stutters?

Parents usually notice a problem with the way their child speaks. Sometimes the child's doctor notices a problem during a visit. Your doctor can tell you if it will probably go away on its own or if it needs to be treated.

How is it treated?

There is no cure for stuttering, but there are treatments to help your child speak better. Even if your child's stuttering isn't very bad, your doctor may want to treat your child so that it doesn't get worse. You may need to bring your child to a speech specialist for therapy.

Your doctor can also give you ideas on how you can help your child speak better (for example, don't speak quickly or interrupt your child).

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor

American Academy of Family Physicians

Web site:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Web site:

British Stammering Association

Web site:

National Center for Stuttering

Web site:

Stuttering Foundation of America

Web site:

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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