Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. 

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Am Fam Physician. 2008;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

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

British Stammering Association

National Center for Stuttering

Stuttering Foundation of America

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