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The Neurological Causes of Stuttering

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Biology 202
2001 Second Web Report
On Serendip

The Neurological Causes of Stuttering

Claire Walker

There are 55 million people all over the world who suffer from stuttering and about 3 million live in the Unites States. This disability has been misunderstood for hundreds of years, but it affects more men then women and it often runs in the family. People who stutter when they speak are sometimes considered to be slower, mentally, then people who can speak fluently. Although research has made some progress in diagnosing the causes of stuttering, people still have preconceptions about stutterers. There are new studies being done to find genetic and neural links to explain and perhaps help cure this potentially isolating disorder.

One of the problems that stutterers face in society is the fast pace that people talk. When trying to talk in public, people will often try and finish a sentence for someone who is stuttering. This seemingly harmless act can often cause the stuttering to be worse, because the person who stutters will be more conscious of the fact that they are talking slowly and they will try to speed up, only to trip and stumble on more words. This disability is interesting because it is not always present in a stutterers daily activities. It has been found that talking to pets, singing, acting and whispering often make the disability disappear (4). On the other hand when the person has to talk to someone of authority or try to impress someone, the stuttering becomes a severe speech block (3).

This dramatic variation in speech ability lead to the investigation of the causes of stuttering. People who stutter, obviously don’t lack the ability to talk fluently but rather have an interference in that ability (3). To find out if there was a neurological link in the brain that caused people to stutter, a PET imaging study was performed comparing stutterers’ brains and non-stutterers’ brains. This study showed that stutterers may be using the right hemisphere of their brain when they are talking, which means that the left hemisphere (the one usually responsible for speech) is being interrupted (4). Stutterers still complain that when they do have to talk, they feel a lot of nervousness and stress, but doctors are now starting to think that these feelings don’t start the stuttering but rather aggravate the problem (4). The interesting thing with the brain patterns is that they are present even when the stutterers aren’t talking. When the neural activation patterns of stutters and non-stutters during silent reading of single words were compared, it was shown that although both subjects had bilateral activation of the brain, the left hemisphere of the non-stutterers had more focus, while on the other hand the right hemisphere of the stutterers showed more focus (2). Similar results were seen when the subjects were talking. An interesting thing is that even treated stutterers, who have been in speech therapy and speak fluently, still have the same bias towards the right hemisphere, although some additional activation is present in the left hemisphere of the brain.

One part of this puzzle that interests scientists the most is the fact that 50-80% of all children who stutter, grow out of the disorder as they age. It seems that intervention with children makes it possible for the stuttering to disappear. For those children who continue to stutter into adulthood, it is seen in brain scans that the neural connections are different than in ‘normal’ adults (3). This suggests that if stuttering goes uncorrected in early age, the brain starts to ‘remember’ the stuttering and builds different neural pathways so that in the future those moments are remembered and the same words cause a stutterer to trip up. In the PET scans of the brain, the stutterers’ brains showed decreased activity in the auditory cortex and hyperactivity in the speech center while reading, which means that stutterer is actually tuning himself out when he is talking, so that he cannot hear the stammering (4).

One of the main problems with the study of the neurological causes of stuttering is that “... the neural system is the central driving force behind everything we think, feel and do,” so the “understanding of the etiology of stuttering will only emerge if we understand the neural bases of human behaviour (2).” Since everyone behaves differently and develops with their own experiences, the study of linking the brain to stuttering is extremely difficult. Why do children start to stutter? Some would say that is was because of an intellectually challenging upbringing which put stress on the child’s manner of speaking. But then again many children grow up in a similar environment and do not develop a stutter. There is no single cause that can be linked to why stuttering starts, so it is no good to study the input side of the nervous system. So to reach the anticipated output (stuttering), it is important to study the cognitive, linguistic, motor and other capacities of each stutterer (2). Such a study involves packaging all of the speech problems associated with the nervous system into a “fluency generating system (Watson & Freeman, 1997)”. This sort of study would try and find out what neural mechanism may lead to the development of stuttering in an individual (2).

One group of researchers found a connection between the functioning of the lateral and medial areas of the brain and stuttering. The lateral area of the brain controls the formation of words (Broca’s area), muscle movements (motor areas) and the understanding of language (Wernicke’s area) in what is know as closed-loop motor control (1). Using this area of the brain, stutterers can talk fluently, but they have to pay close attention to their speech, which as a result is slowed considerably (1). On the other hand, the medial area of the brain controls the open-loop motor control, which involves retrieving preprogrammed motor programs from memory and using them without feedback. This means that rapid speech can be produced with little effort, but since there is no error regulation stutterers will continually make the same mistakes in their speech pattern, especially when talking in a pressured situation (1).

So, stuttering has been linked to differing neural patterns, but why does stuttering cause different parts of the brain to be more active? One idea is called the Valsalva Mechanism, which is a natural bodily function, but it may turn the extra effort put into speech into the block that stutterers fight with everyday (3). The Valsalva Maneuver was named after an Italian anatomist, Anton Maria Valsalva and its purpose is to bring more air pressure into the lungs to help a person exert more force on an object, such as weight lifters who hold their breath when lifting large masses. (3). To create more air pressure in the lungs, the abdomen muscles contract and press against the diaphragm, which in turn presses up on the chest cavity. For this mechanism to increase the air pressure in the lungs, the larynx has to tighten around the airway so that the air cannot escape and this is called the effort closure (3). All of the muscles involved in the Valsalva mechanism are connected neurologically, so that they can all contract at the same time and with the same force (3).

The reason that this mechanism is thought to be tied to stuttering is because stutterers put a lot of force and effort into the words that they stumble over. This force causes the lips and tongue of the stutterer to press harder together, thus creating more air pressure in the lungs, but also causing speech difficulties (3). Fluent speech actually requires very little effort, so when a stutter puts a lot of effort into speaking the Valsalva Mechanism does what it is supposed to do, it is an instinctive reaction when we are trying to force something out of the body (3). This confusion between the Valsalva mechanism and the neurological components of speech can happen because there is neurological tuning involved in the motor neurons that control all the muscles involved in a movement, this includes speech (3).

What really happens during a stutterers speech is not wholly known, but if we take an example of someone stuttering on a word starting with p, say plane, then the brain remembers that p-words were difficult to say. Thus the brain ‘thinks’ that more effort has to be put into saying p-words, so the Valsalva mechanism kicks into gear and the stutterer is left squeezing their lips and trying to get any p-word to come out of their mouth (3). What makes p-words difficult for many stutterers is the fact that you have to close your lips, momentarily, to build up a little air pressure to say p-words. However if the nervous system is too excitable the brain may misinterpret this signal to mean that a Valsalva maneuver is being started and thus try and shut the air in the lungs, making speech very difficult (3).

This mechanism makes it extremely hard for stutterers to overcome their speech impediment, because even after they have gone to therapy and worked on slowing their speech, many stutterers relapse within a few weeks. Other treatments, such as electronic anti-stuttering devices, have been used with some optimistic results. Such devices allow the stutterer to listen to their own speech slowed down, which causes the use of the closed-loop system (1). Some researchers and doctors are hopeful that a drug treatment will be available for stutterers in the near future, because of the possibility of altering the way a stutterer’s brain functions. Genetic studies are also being carried out to see if a specific gene can be labeled as the cause of stuttering, in which case gene therapy would be an option.

WWW Sources

1)Neurology of Stuttering. Stuttering: Science, Therapy & Practice, A very interesting summary of the different hypotheses about the cause of stuttering. Offers some good clinical trials information.

2)Some thought on the multidimensional nature of stuttering from a neurophysiological perspective, A good place to find out some connections between Neurophysiological causes of stuttering.

3)The Valsalva Mechanism: A key to understanding and controlling stuttering, Made some interesting connections between a normal bodily mechanism and its connection to stuttering.

4)U.S. News & World Report (April 2, 2001, pp 44-51). Anatomy of a Stutter: New findings from brain studies and genetics are illuminating the causes of this ancient affliction. This article touched on some of the newest studies relating stuttering to the nervous system.



Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)
09/25/2005, from a Reader on the Web

i try very hard to not stutter, not sure why it happens more with some people, an not others im 50yrs and thought i had gotten over the fustration,, but it still happens,,, many has suggested things to do ,,, but they just dont understand... my thoughts are a lot faster, than my speech,i also try and choose my words carefuly,, in order to use less words,, to make the same point, when this i find that most people, dont pay close attention to what im saying,, so i find myself having to say it again some people i feel thinks im not intellegent,and lacks knowledge about things, thats not the case at all,but still im judged about my trurhfulness when trying to explain my views,, after 50 years im still having to deal with stigma thats comes with this disiability,,, i welcome any information that will help me, does this disiability qulifies a person social security. thanks for this place to vent...

11/23/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I find it EXTREMELY fustrating for people to cut me off when im talking.I try so speak louder just to get my point across and it seems that EVERYBODY knows why I stutter.If it was that simple dont they think i would have "cured" it a long time ago.People dont know what its like to have to speak and nobody listens. That last comment i feel is really close to what I go through

11/30/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Quite a bit has been written on the subject of stuttering and stammering. The notion that stutterers have lower IQ's is more prejudical than scientic fact. In my case, I have a MS is Education and Career Guidance. Stuttering in fact affects the general population more evenly and may suggest that those that do stutter may have higher IQ's rather than lower IQ's. Aristotle was said to have a severe speech defect and tried to "cure" the problem by putting small stones in his mouth and alter speech patterns. Whether this worked or not no one really knows. In my own case, I've stuttered since I started talking, and certain "triggers" set into motion abnormal speech. These triggers include, but are not limited to: excessive noise, cognizant words that I trip on, having a lucid fluid sentence with someone, only to have the listener say "huh,"and having someone be impatient or trying to finish thought. Chances are the repeating the sentence is more of frustration of having someone not listen nor pay attention to what I may be saying. In this way, I may reason that what I may be saying is really not important and self-esteem then becomes an issue. While speaking in front of a large gathering of people frightens most stutterers, I have little problem standing on a dais lecturing or reciting a written passage to peers or strangers. Learned behavior and breathing patterns are probably the two big culprits, and I have noticed that in my case, I try to speak without taking a breath. Try this: let all the air of your lungs, then try to speak! This can't be done. In a program run by the University of Southern California in the 1970's, controlled speech therapy by having the subject speak more slower and have the air flow through the larynx by exaggerating longer sounds. There have been many therapies and while a lot of these work, some are better than others depending on the stutterer.


Additional comments made prior to 2007
hello my name is steve, I am 15 years old and have trouble with speaking. I know it's because of stuttering. I would like to know a way to GROW OUT of stuttering. Even though I'm just like every other teenagers, i feel differnt because I know some girls wouldnt want to go out on a date with me just because of the fact I stutter. Also, I found out when I was in 8th grade I liked to read a lot to the class, even though I would stutter a lot, I kind of grew out of that. And everytime I were to read I would get better and better until I wouldnt even stutter anymore. But now that I'm in the 10 grade I feel embarrashed when I read. And I know I wouldnt be able to like to read like I did when I was in 8th grade. Also, another thing about my stuttering, when I'm by myself I can talk and talk and talk without stuttering once, but when I'm with some of my friends,family or anything I stutter. I don't understand it!!! And when I'm on the phone I become extremly nervious and when!
the person picks up it may take me a second to react!

Please respond to me about this! I would really appriacate it!
Thank you very much ... Steve, 29 January 2006



I have had a brain disease called Primary Cerebellar Ataxia, for 14 years. I am 51 yrs old. I never stuttered until I contracted this disease. Sometimes I stutter, sometimes I don't. Mostly,I slur my words as if I'd had a stroke. This disease affects all my motor skills, i.e., walking, balance, body movements, and my speech patterns, too. I often find that people finish my sentences for me, and it IS frustrating, making me even more aware of my problem. I read your article with great interest. I am in the process of inquiring further into a Speech Easy device for my ear. I wonder if any drug treatment has been put on the market yet, as was discussed in the bottom of the article? If so, I'd be very interested in hearing about it. I figure that although I may not have the same "background reasons" for my stuttering, I AM still a stutterer sometimes, and am trying desperately, as is everyone else, to find a cure so I can have a normal conversation with people again, and more importantly, use the telephone myself. Thanks for listening, and I hope to hear back ... Vicki Coy, 3 April 2006



Im 14 and I studder. It's really hard for me right now . I can't even raise my hand in class and It's effecting my grades bacause I know If I could talk I could do better. I can barely have a conversation with my friends and my family annoy's me bacause they tell me to slow don tap my leg and it dont help they dont know what it's like not being able to talk on the phone. My mom looked into a ear piece called the fluency master. I was getting all exited but it's been a year. I dont think she's relly tried her hardest. why did she have to put that in my head well I have to go ... Cody, 10 May 2006



I am 41 years old and I have stuttered all but the last two years of my life. I have a device called a fluency master and it has dramatically cut down on my stuttering. I use to always hate it when someone would finish my sentences for me, or laugh at me. We are not dumb and we are not uncordinated. Over the course of my life I have had some nasty things said to me. Everyone who stutters can say that. If you saw two co workers looking at you and then each other and then laugh, what would you think they are laughing about? Peple can be so ignorant. Stuttering is something that is so misunderstood. I had a great grandfather on my fathers side that stuttered some and my uncle on Moms side stutters severely. This disorder makes you think you are substandard as a person ... Carl Jenkins, 27 May 2006



I have been stuttering all of my life, so did my brother. people have teased and made to look stupid for most of that life. I had to learn the hard way that they were the ones that were spudid not me. I have accepted the fact that i will stutter for the rest of my life so why not embress it , since it is a part of me. if you accept me as a friend or loved one uoy will have to accept the stuttering too ... Phillip Sloan, 23 August 2006



Come from a family of late bedwetters and also stutters. Have partical seizures, take gabapentin daily. Suddenly find that I really don't stutter.Thought I'd share this with you. Also note that one the during the times when I think that I am going to stutter; I find an abnormality in my breathing process. For me there are or rather where many types of stuttering. One where I have so much to say that the words trip over each other as I can't say evrything at once. Two; when I am so nervous that I can't even say "Hello' on thre telepone. Or three; just can't say what I want to. Oh, but I sing very well ... Kathleen Edsall, 21 October 2006



By the age of 24 I earned the equivalent of a masters degree in stuttering. No one could stutter more often that I.

I was shy, lonely, anti social, and neurotic.

I began to keep a written record of every frustrating incident in my life. I always concluded these written comments with a self administerd pat on my back to invigorate, my then, non existant, self esteem.

After numerous entries I began to realize the my stutteing was related to my self esteem. When I attempted to avoid noting my frustrations, my stuttering resumed. When I resumed my notations, the stutteing disappeared.

I believe that, by my 26th year, I have had no recureence of stutteing. I lost my shyness, my neurosies and my low self esteem. I am 80 years old now. No one believes that I was once a stutterere ... Julius Silverman, 30 November 2006



For over the past year or so, i cant really pin point when i first noticed my inability to get things out as fast as my brain was thinking. Or picking and choicing words or phrases that i can get out with less of a pause or stuttering. I dont show signs of it all the time, but enough to where it affects my relationships with my friends and my ability to go out and meet new people. Now my questions is related to drugs and can they cause stuttering. I ask this because when i first started using i showed no signs of a stutter/speech problem. This was a lil more then 3 years ago, now for a year or so i think my inability to say what i want it pissing me off. So any information regarding drugs use causing stuttering or stressful environments causing this...Anything from anyone regarding this would be great ... Taylor, 2 March 2007



When I speak, i sometimes feel the lack of confidence thats why i stutter...but when i feel ok and confident, i can speak real good and clear...i have a scar on my face thats why i became conscious of my environment that i felt all people are focused on me when i speak...i feel that they are looking at my scar thats why i feel nervous and shy--it makes me a good singer and i won singing contests...i play piano...i paint...i cook...i write poems, essays, very good at it....i won several awards and recognitions for my talent and creativeness...i have an IQ of 126 (highly intelligent)...its just that im lacking of self confidence that i stutter when im nervous or shy...i think a healthy diet and lifestyle, a good family relation and communication will help alot to people like us who stutter ... Kurt, 16 March 2007



With all the speech therapy that could be crammed into me from as far back as I can remember, and probably much longer, for the first 32 years of my life I existed in the increasingly self-limiting spirit- breaking world stutterers grudging get used to. Of course, I did receive a ray of hope when I last saw my therapist of 2 years at the end of 6th grade and we agreed that I should expect a fluency rate of 60%.

Well, 20 years later, I walked into the office of a doctor for another matter entirely and he prescribed some pills. I took them that night and by maybe the next day or two, I no longer stuttered. And 26 years later I still haven't, except for the time when another doctor briefly took me off the anti-seizure medicine (Tegretol) I had been put on.

I hope stutterers will be given a basic neurological exam or, simply, tried out on an anti-seizure medication to see if it might help. Some may even be "cured" and allowed to live a fullfilling, well rounded life ... Jonathan Kleid, 29 May 2007



I stuttered so bad all the way up until my late teens that I had to write down what I was going to say before I made a phone call. Often people would hang up on me before I could get through a sentence. I almost failed every grade, and always thought I was stupid as so I was treated, even by my family.

I also had terrible acne and because we moved a lot I was usually the new weird looking kid who was easy to pick on. I made humor of my stuttering to win friends and to keep safe even if they were laughing more often at me than with me.

I moved out while we were living in Huntsville,Alabama as I was almost 18 and wanted to finish high school with my new friends I had made, rather than move to Ohio and have to start all over again. I also had my first girlfriend, Clair. I could fake playing the guitar and found that I did not stutter when I sang, and my girl loved to sing harmony.

A little more than a year prior to this I was living in Bay St Louis, Mississippi and use to hitch hike quite a bit as I liked meeting strangers and pretending that I was somebody else.

While hitching one day I met a most lovely and deeply southern couple. They were in their late forties and were recently married. After a short while riding and chatting from the back seat up to the two of them, the lady turned to me a said "You stutter don't you?" "Well I'm going to tell you the same thing I told my last husband who also stuttered, this one is my third." she interrupted her preaching with a big gleaming smile as she patted her husbands shoulder.and then continued her sermon. "When you find somebody who you can believe really loves you, you will stop stuttering." The words meant something to me but I would not fully digested their meaning for years to come.

Back to Alabama, may be six months after my parents moved I got kicked out of school because they found out I was living alone while working as a janitor to pay my rent. This gave me a lot more time to confront my relationship with myself.

I tested Clair in every way to prove she did not love me. For many years before Clair I had pretended to be somebody new with almost every group of people I had ever met and had so many lies about me I could not remember all that was true. I exposed all that I could of this to her and still she wanted me. As my esteem grew I tested her in worse ways like fooling around with casual friends. We almost made it to the other side of my testing but she too injured to recover finally dumped me, just as I began to understand that she had truly loved ME.

The point of the story is that the more present I became and spontaneously honest the less I stuttered. I stopped stuttering for the most part by the time I was 19. Presently 54, I am happily married for three years to my first wife, am a municipal Judge, a therapist for twenty something years, and a portrait painter.

Consciously finding oneself connected beyond reason (another way to say finding LOVE), is always good therapy and perhaps a cure for many cases of stuttering ... Grant Freeman, 20 August 2007



i have a stuttering problem which has stuck by me since i was in the first grade. it was hard at first because i couldnt barely get my words and the kids at school would pick and mock me. i used to cry to my mom about it because i felt different from the other kids. she thought it was something temporarily but it wasnt. still to this very day, i have a stuttering problem. no body really picks on me about it because its very unnoticeable. i try my best not to stammer or mess up when i'm speaking but i get really anxious and excited and i just go away with it. my family jumps down my throat about me taking my time because they want to understand what i be saying sometimes but i can't help it. my fiance barely knows it because when i'm around him, i don't stutter. but if i'm around alot of people or with someone i don't know, then i will definitly stutter. as a new mom, i question myself rather or not my little girl will stutter or if i can prevent that from happening ... Porsche McGill, 3 November 2007


mahmoud allam's picture

The suffering from stuttering

I wanna ask about my stuttering and i had no parents or anyof my relatives who had this stuttering,iam 24 year,,i didn't get stuttered since birth but i got fever then i got stuttered,whats the reason??pls pls pls pls reply or contact me.......iam suffering.....

StephanieW's picture

Ups and Downs

I am 40 years old, have stuttered since I could form sentences. I do not repeat words or elongate. I am a stop breather, head jerker, clamping jaw, and worse. I went to every type of therapy available, tried the magic box's, even some type of drup ment for people with epilepsy..that was not pretty, it made me stutter slower....THAT WAS BAD!! There have been good years and bad. Some people I have met never even knew I stuttered...some think I have terrets or worse. Im pretty much ok with myself...except for the continual laugh when you order food, or ask a question at a store. I know I still make people uncomfotable, but hey deal with it, I do everyday. I have pushed through because I am stubborn...people told me I couldn't be a I was one, hated it, but I was a good one for 6 years. People thought I was stupid or stuck-up because I never talked, I have an IQ of 134 and I love people. When I drink at a party and have a few to many, you cant shut me up because the stutter stops, completely. I could have VERY easily become an alcoholic, but man those hang over's sucked.

I did like whent he Kings speach came out, hoping it would educate people..but seriously how many average people will watch it??

I am currently having some family issues and have been stuttering very hard for about 8 bad I went for an MRI on my neck and they found pretty bad arthritis....most likely because of the jerking while I stutter. I had to have two teeth caped because I broke them...again most likely because of the constant grinding while Im trying to talk. So now my Dentist has suggested a night guard all day long to protect my what, I have to lisp as well as stutter??? I Ihave 4 wonderful children who thankfully will never experience the pain I have...they are all stutter free:0) Im feeling a bit depressed because there is no info out there about people who have stuttered for a long time and the physical ailments that can follow. Im 40 and feeling like Im 70...all because of stuttering...seriously, having to deal with the stuttering for 38 years isn't enough???

I know I am blessed in so many other ways, but sometimes it brings me very low...I understand why people dont want to leave their homes, answer the phone, etc. BUT you young kids out there, one should be so thankful for, TEXTING....dear God I wish that had excisted when I was younger:0)

Good luck to us all, there must be something special about us, live up to it!!!!

Gemma's picture

Hi Stephaine, It sounds like

Hi Stephaine,

It sounds like your going through a very hard time. Im lucky that i havent been that bad. I have had a stutter all my life. I feel your pain. I had a lot of teasing through school. However i met some girls and they have stood my be the whole time.
I went to a speech treatment at the La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. That was 2 week course of intensive speech therapy.
You pretty much learn how to speak again. I'll tell you to key point of the technique.
1. Slow your speech rate down.
2. Soft On Sets to your words (if it hard or forced thats why you stutter)
3. Link your words
4. Breath.

You need to learn to breath, slow your rate and be more soft with your onsets and link your words together.
Linking is the best because it stops you from stuttering.
I advise you that you read some books out load using these techniques. I hope you understand what im saying.

You will slip up like i do everyday but i know the techniques and i can use them. My problem is i talk to fast!!!
All the best!

Mike's picture

Stuttering does have a price nation wise.

First of all, I AM A STUTTERER. I know the embarestment all to well, and some particula incidents are never forgotten, I call it PTSD from stuttering. I know it has held me back from things I desired in life. Has anyone ever tried to figure out what stuttering has cost a nation in work, advancement, and so forth. Because we the stuttering held back from wanting to be laughed at.
As a soldier and under fire stuttering never existed, we stutterers seem to get the job done and simple hand signs spoke our thoughts.
thank you,

jonh ken's picture


stuttering has ruined my life,iam tottaly isolated from the real world,develop memory loss,anxiety disorder,fail in schools,nervous tension,run away from home ,live alone in a jungle ,cannot not make a living.
help....suicide seem the only way

Danish 's picture

If suicide is a solution to

If suicide is a solution to this problem then, I want to join you. How do you want to die? By rat poision, take sleeping pills or stab yourself or just slit your throat. Who will be attending your funneral? Your loved ones? Think about how would they feel. I am certain that their life will be ruined forever. Do you want to see you family or girlfriend or you want to see them suffer for the rest of your life. If yes, then your are a selfish person who doesnt give a damn about others. Live for others, live for that lady who raised you and made you who you are. Live for that guy who taught you how to walk. Just want to say this (Life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain) Learn how to cope with your stuttering!

John's picture


Hey John, as a fellow person who stutters I know how lonely and isolated it can be in any social situation,even with family members. As I have developed through life have I been really hard on myself and my habits of reacting to my stuttering. My self esteem changes as quickly as a roller coaster does on tracks and I feel hopeless sometimes because of depression. As of this last quarter in school one of my closest relationships with a girl friend ended, which lasted about 3 weeks. Then for the rest of the quarter, I struggled through school and failed math. All because of the separation from her, I realized how much I have held myself back from opening up to others and allowing them to see my true self. I know that I have grown numb to my pain inside because it has been very tough to bear with my struggling relationships As of now, my family and I are getting me into a speech therapy session and we are trying to get some financial aid to acquire lease a fluency master. I am real excited about this because once I break my fear of what others perceive of me and I make the best of what I got, then the possibilities are endless John. Your family will always be there with you as they are with me. Keep your head up and your feet moving forward John, we are not alone and we can conquer stuttering together and make this world a better place just by being here.

Whitney Lyons's picture

Please, don't consider

Please, don't consider suicide. Your life is to precious. My son stutters; he is 16. It's been hard through the years, but he has made alot of progress. We recently got him a speech easy device that has helped him tremendously. Please surround yourself with a great support system. There are people that can help you. Please don't give up. Good Luck to you and remember you matter in this world and you can make a difference.Please read the book: If I can, Y-Y- You can! by Neal Jeffrey, former college and pro quarter back and now a successful professional. It's an awesome book. I know things will get better take care and God Bless you. Sincerely, W.C.L.

Lin Gulley's picture

Stuttering for 61 yrs

I have stuttered for 61 yrs. My father stuttered also. When my daughter was 3 yrs old, I let her spend the summer with my Dad. She spoke plainly before she left, but stuttered when she got back home! But, thank God, she grew out of it. But for me, not so! Stress, tiredness, fear, feelings of unworthy-ness, self-hatred (because I stutter) among other things, keeps mine going. It hurts that it has kept me from getting promotions on jobs. There was a person who wrote about the anti-seizure medicine (Tegretol) in this forum, and I am going to ask my doctor to prescribe it for me. I sure hope it works. Take care everyone. I understand exactly how you feel.

Patrick's picture

About tegretol

Hello Lin,I wanted to ask you if you have been able to try out tegretol and your results from it.I have a speech impediment myself and I'm still on the quest if finding a way to minimize it .hope other from you

Tagesse Mengiste's picture

I am a little bit better

I am a 40 year man from Ethiopia.When I was a young boy , I was stuttering very much .I used to scare to speak and read infront of my classmates. There were a lot of times students gathered to listen to my stuttering .I am 50% good in speaking .But sometimes my words are choked and people understand me in different way .I tried to improve my self by speaking in low manner and thinking in advance . I tried to recite words. My problem now is I cant speak loudly .Some people donot now I am stammering , they only asked me to speak loudly.




Anonymous's picture

what about me?

ok , i want 2 understand why im just now stuttering. i have never ever stuttered in my life. i am 27 nd 4 the last 2 months i have been. i mean 2 the point where i dnt speak 1st untill i rehearse wat im going 2 say in my head. now how weired is that. i want to set a appointment with a doctor but i dnt even knw who handles this stuff! i will say this i feel 4 those who have lived with this their whole life cause jus these 2 months has dropped my self esteem, nd has my friends looking at me diffrent i mean wow. well im open 2 all advice nd help. thanx

sarraa's picture

my brother stutters and he is

my brother stutters and he is 13. he is going to the speech pathology.
and im sure he is going to stop it, though sometime he is embarrassed talking to people but he got use to it!!!
poor brother :(

Anonymous's picture

studdering in massachuttes

i never studded in my life im 48 and ive been studdering for about a month now and its everyday what do you think it is

Masha's picture


Hi, I am 27 years old and I am a moderate statter.I have to deal with speech disfluensy all my life and it herts. Now I am looking for the therapy or medication to reduce my speeking anxiety. I assume that neurological problem is in the basis of my stuttering. I can speak perfectly while I am quiet and may stutter if I feel worried. Anty-anxiety medication and speech therapy can help. Did anyone experience stuttering treatment by medications and what they are?

Tugrol 's picture


hi i am 23 years old, i never stuttered when i was little a couple of years back i started stuttering. Itts gone bad to worse now because of that my grades are suffering. i Dont feel like talking to any body.

wayne's picture

tegretol and stuttering

Hi my name is wayne, my partner suffers from temporal lobe epilepsy recently her fits increased out of the blue for a period of 3 weeks straight night and day this happened, she went to the hospital where when she got there there were no neuro doctors to treat her due to them all being in new zealand at the time for some forum on neuro science i guess.

she was shoved from room to room in the hospital and her medication and treatment schedule was haphazzard at best.

her medication was increased and as a result of this she now stutters where before she didnt iam very worried about her what can be done is this a tempoary thing due to increase in medication or is it now a more permanent result of mistreatment in hospital any ideas ?

john 's picture


I stutter really bad and I am about to be 16. I was born 6 weeks pre-mature. I went through speech therapy in elementry school but did not work. I was just wondering if me being 6 weeks pre-mature had anything to do with my stutter?

Anonymous's picture

I've been stuttering for as long as i can remember...

I've been stuttering for as long as i can remember and i need help. I get really self conscious about my speech. I only stutter with certain letters. I sometimes think to myself "I won't be able to say this word, i know im going to stutter if i try." People laugh at me and make fun of me when i stutter. It makes me very uncomfortable if somebody could please reply and give me some advice and some tips that could help me. I don't have the money to go to therapy or get professional help. Somebody please help.

Anonymous's picture

well i used to stutter all

well i used to stutter all the time,since i can remember, usaually we pick up speech paterns from are parents,which they might stutter as well. I stuttered since i could all through high school. I felt helpless no one understood why had the problem,I told myself that i was going to get over this, so what i did when i was alone at the house i got a bible or a book and started to read it out loud everday every chance i had i did through out the summer before i stated college and ive stoped ever since. Funny thing is that one of my first class was public speaking the only class i passed with an A. try it help me to hear my own vocie! and to get used to hearing your sound.

Pam's picture

Looking back...

I am 59 years old. I used to be a "stutterer", but now I just stutter sometimes! Important difference, to me. I went to the Speech Therapist in high school. Later in life, I saw a professor at a local university who had a breathing theory. It seemed like the more I focused on my stuttering, such as going for therapy, the more I stuttered. In my early 30's I ordered a booklet I saw advertised in a magazine. It was published by a stuttering association, can't remember which one. It listed several theories for overcoming. One caught my attention. The writer suggested that the stutterer go out and try to convince as many people as possible that she/he stutters. Long story short, I got a job in sales. I don't know if this is common, but with supreme effort I could control my stuttering for a short time. (It was exhausting.)But I got through the initial interview. Turned out that the man who hired me had stuttered in his youth and gave me a chance. That was 25 years ago. The sales job seemed to give me confidence. Building on that confidence, I soon stopped declining any activity that involved speaking to more than one person. I would lapse back when I was tired or sick, but I saw that as a rare occurrence, in my mind. About 5 years ago, I had to step in for a speaker at the last minute. I hesitated and a co-worker said: Hey, you know more about this topic than anybody in the audience. Just go out and tell them. I did. They laughed at my jokes and seemed interested in what I had to say. Afterward, several people came up and told me how much they enjoyed it. That night I thought two things: 1. I had fun! 2. I wished I'd had that experience earlier in my life. Confidence was a huge part of transcending stuttering for me. Probably, growing older and not caring so much what other people thought helped too. Not sure if this will help anybody.
I was reading a book tonight, where the author talked about a sister who stuttered. The author said that doctors had chalked it up to a forceps delivery, at her sister's birth. So I came online to see what people were saying now, regarding the causes. I found this site.

Em's picture

During Junior high i had a

During Junior high i had a really bad stutter. My friends tell me i couldnt get through an entire sentance without stuttering at least twice. I grew out of it after 5 years or so, but im a senior in highschool now and its just ocming back. Im curious as to why, anyone have any ideas?

Anonymous's picture

I found this article VERY

I found this article VERY interesting!! I'm 28 years old and have moderately stuttered all my life. I've had my ups and downs with my stuttering, been through MANY therapies, and haven't had much luck. In saying that, I DO NOT let stuttering run my life. I did good in high school, as well as, had many friends. I graduated college with a 4.0 grade point average. I have an associates degree as a medical assistant and for the past 5 years I have been working at a doctor's office as the Head MA. Recently I made a career move into teaching. I am currently working as a teachers assistant for a special education classroom. I am also going back to college to get my teaching degree. I'm telling you all this because I know there are stutterers out there who need confidence. They don't think they can succeed because of their stuttering. NOT TRUE! I made a choice a long time ago, to not let my disability hold me back. I do what i want and stuttering may get in my way, but I push it down and keep on going. Keep confidence in yourself. Unfortunately your stuttering is here to stay, you just have to make the choice to not let it define who you are.

Emily Hromi's picture


I am a 21 year old medical illustrator in training, and I have stuttered my entire life.

As I'm sure you've experienced, stuttering seems to happen most severely at the most inconvenient times.

I used to think each time was the worst, I'd think, "Why now? Why in this moment?" But I'm not a child anymore, and I'm not just a strung-out art student anymore. The deeper I become immersed in the professional world, the more inconvenient the situations become. "Why now?" actually means something, not just an hour or so of embarrassment.

The way I cope is by simply...not caring about it. I stutter. But I'm also more driven and academically-inclined than most of my fellow students. Thinking this way makes it a lot easier to accept my disability. If I don't care that I stutter, nobody else has the right to care. If it bothers them, they should try living with it themselves.

Robert Culver's picture

Valsalva mechanism

I am a stutterer but I have found TRUE HELP!!!!

I read an article by William D. Parry, Esq., about the Valsalva Mechanism. I even purchased the book which should arrive in a day or so. I have always felt that there was a connection between speech and airflow. I tried some of the techniques in the article and they worked for me. I can say my whole name, Robert Culver without stuttering. I was in the habit of not saying my last name because it was sure to bring on a block.

I suggest that you read the article:
and make your own determination.

Also, it seems to be little to no research on the Valsalva Mechanism so I think the speech pathology community is sleeping on this one!!!

Anonymous's picture

I am 24, in the military,

I am 24, in the military, and I stutter a storm. It's embarassing because I have a lot of superiors to whom I have to report to in a timely manner, sometimes I can not do so. I found something interesting about myself, but whenever I am intoxicated I speak fluently no stuttering or slur speech, however it is opposite for someone who speaks fluently they tend to have speech problems especially slur speech while intoxicated. Does anyone know what it can be?

Vivian's picture

YES! I was waiting for

YES! I was waiting for someone to bring this topic up! I too have experienced the exact same thing; I'm an 18 year old with a moderate-severe stutter, and I've found that when I'm drunk, I can speak fluently - the words just flow out smoothly. However, I've observed the opposite for "non-stutterers" - when they are drunk, they usually have slurred speech.
Why is this? I think it may very well have to do with brain chemistry; that is, alcohol may actually alter the biochemistry of the brain, thereby shifting neural-chemicals into the "proper" order, which is required for normal speech. Stuttering is, afterall, primarily a disorder of the brain's biochemistry (specifically the Basal Ganglia, which is responsible for the motor coordination of the speech muscles).

Justin's picture

Drunk - Stuttering stops

I don't think this has to do with altering brain chemistry so much as putting you into a relaxed state where you no longer fear stuttering such as when you talk to your pet or yourself. I think that for those of us where stress and anxiety play a big part in our stuttering, depressants such as alcohol work well. I only hope they can come out with an effective medication that mimics this effect as I don't plan on being drunk all the time.

khalid khan's picture

thank u man !..but tell me !...


kiki's picture

some information for you

hello, i'm 17 and i am a stuterer and i went to a course where they actually help you with your speech. its called the mcguire program. check it out on google. it really works. and i hate to break it to you but there is no cure for stuttering. but you can have some tools that will help you with it. like breathing. take a beath in every sentence. another way is to have positive thoughts. its a psychological thing and its very hard but it helps.