We all stutter from time to time, but some people struggle with speech impediments on a daily basis. It’s a problem that often begins in childhood and, for many people, leaves a lasting mark on their confidence, particularly in social situations.
There is no universal condition for stuttering and there is no universal cure. Just as some people will only stutter in certain situations — such as when speaking in public or in front of people who make them nervous — the forms of therapy currently available will help some people, but not others. If you or someone you know struggles with occasional or consistent stuttering, you may be wondering what you need to learn about this unique condition. With International Stuttering Awareness Day taking place on October 22, it seems like the right time to explore some of the most important research associated with stuttering.
Given how widespread issues with stuttering are, it’s somewhat surprising that researchers don’t yet know what causes the problem. Some experts believe it’s strongly tied to genetics, meaning that if one’s parents or grandparents struggled with a stutter, then their children or grandchildren may have similar speech issues.
Of course, a stutter can also be related to an individual’s own experience. Childhood trauma, particularly related to speech, can result in a person struggling with a stutter later in life. A stutter can also emerge if an individual has anxiety, a condition that can make speaking to others, and especially strangers, particularly stressful and difficult.