Symptoms of Stuttering

By  , Expert Content
Mar 02, 2012

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Symptoms of Stuttering

Stuttering is a speech disorder, which affects the fluency of speech. A person, who stutters, has involuntary hesitation when speaking and tends to repeat and draw out parts of words or phrases. According to research, about 5 percent of children aged 2 to 5 stutter, which improves with age in many children. The disorder progresses to become a problem in less than 1 percent of children.

Symptoms of Stuttering

Difficulty Starting a Word: An important symptom of stuttering is difficulty in starting a word, sentence or phrase. When a person with stuttering speaks, there are prolonged pauses and long, drawn-out sounds. Some examples of pauses in stuttering include:

  • Interruptions in words (interjections): "How do I-um-go there?"
  • Interruptions in within a word (broken words): "I want gr... [pause] ... apes."

Repetition and Prolongation: Another major symptom of stuttering is repetition of words or phrases and prolongation of speech sounds. The speech may get "blocked" i.e. the lips may be together or the mouth may be open, but no words or sounds are produced for several seconds. Some examples of repetitions of sounds, syllables, or short words in stuttering include:

  • False starts: "h-h-h-hot."
  • One-syllable words: "I-I-I can hear you."
  • Drawn-out words (prolongations), usually, at the beginning of sentences: "M-m-m-m-m-mama, you have cookies."
  • Entire set of words that have more than one syllable: "Elephant-elephant are huge!"
  • Phrases: "I want-I want to eat too.

Other speech symptoms of stuttering include word substitutions (circumlocution) to avoid trying to say difficult words. Some people with stuttering may have complete change of words or thoughts such as “I found my-Do you want to eat?" while speaking.

Other Symptoms

Many other physical symptoms have been noted to occur along with speech difficulty. Physical symptoms, which may occur with speech difficulty include:

  • Rapid blinking of eyes
  • Tremors of lip or jaw  
  • Tension or movement of the face or upper body
  • The person may appear tensed, go out of breath or have tense talking.

In many people, stuttering becomes worse when he or she gets excited, anxious, overwhelmed or is tired.  In children, stuttering often gets worse when the child tries to tell something complex.



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