Make Room For The Stuttering

What Is Stuttering?

Stuttering is an involuntary disruption in the normal flow of speech. It can be manifested in several ways. 

A person may stutter by repeating whole or partial words or sounds, like “st-st-st-stutter.”  A person may also prolong sounds at the beginning of words, like “ssssssssstutter.” Some people may have long pauses or hesitations before or between words. And some people may have what are called “blocks”, where no sound comes out when making an attempt to speak. Sometimes, secondary, struggle behavior or tension accompanies stuttering, making it physically tiring when there is a lot of blocking.

My stuttering most often takes the form of repetitions, at the beginning of words and sometimes in the middle of words, like “communi-ca-ca-ca-tion.”  I also block occassionally on certain sounds and once in a while I will exhibit a secondary behavior, such as jaw tension or squeezing one eye shut when trying to force a difficult word out.

There are many myths associated with stuttering. The reasons myths exist about stuttering is because of lack of awareness or education about stuttering.

Those of us who stutter are not intellectually or emotionally deficient. We know exactly what we want to say, we just sometimes have some difficulty getting the words out.

It does not help a person who stutters for listeners to tell us to “slow down” or “take a deep breath” or “think about what you are going to say first.”

We are also not nervous, anxious or shy because of stuttering. Indeed, stuttering a lot may contribute to us feeling more nervous or anxious, but one does not “cause” the other.

Mot people who stutter prefer that listeners be patient, not finish our thoughts for us, and maintain appropriate eye contact while a person is stuttering. It is OK to ask questions as well, like, “how would you like me to respond when you are stuttering.” It won’t offend us if you ask a question. In fact, most people who stutter invite questions. It shows you are interested in who we are and what we have to say.

It is never OK to laugh at, or mock someone who is stuttering. Sometimes people laugh as an initial reaction if they have never met a person who stutters before. Sometimes people will ask silly questions, like “did you forget your name?”

Be respectful, and listen to a stutterer just like you would anyone else.

Check out some helpful resources about stuttering here.

The National Stuttering Association   FRIENDS   The Stuttering Foundation of America   The Stuttering Homepage

6 Responses to "What Is Stuttering?"


Biggest load of crap i heard in a very long time. I stutter since 5 and i am very efficient at multitasking, i also have a very high temper and am very hurried, i like to get things done asap.

I believe this is a quote from Einstien. “Most things in life are simple its humans that complicate them”

Wow, great blog. You have done a good job of describing the various stuttering behaviour, and sharing your perspective as someone who stutters.

Many of my speech therapy clients have echoed what you said about how they would like others to respond to them: not finishing the sentences for them, just being patient and supportive etc

Yes, there are many myths about stuttering. I think one of the most paradoxical one is that so many men in the street, even well educated people, treat stuttering as a stigmatizing disorder that reflects poorly on the psychological or intellectual well-being of the person who stutters, when this is probably one of the most well researched areas of stuttering – with absolutely no research evidence to show that this is the case!

People who stutter are not more anxious / neurotic / intellectually deficient etc than people who do not stutter.

In fact, there is abundant evidence that stuttering is about how the brain co-ordinates speech muscle activity, so better fluency can be ‘learned’.

Thank you again for sharing.

Thank you so much for checking in and taking the time to leave a comment. Hearing from a SLP is great – love to know that SLP’s find my blog a resource. I hope you feel free to share my blog with some of your clients. I also do a podcast, called “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories” which can be found on this blog and on iTunes. Again, thanks so much.
Hope to see you here again.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
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