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What is Stuttering?

Stuttering is a speech disorder that impacts fluency of speech. Stuttering can consist of both primary and secondary behaviors. A primary behavior is the speech difficulty that occurs, while a secondary behavior could involve physical tension of the mouth, excessive blinking of the eyes, or avoiding specific sounds. 

Our Boca Raton Speech Therapist Can Help!


Individuals who stutter have the following types of disfluencies:

  • Blocks. This happens when you have a hard time getting a word out. You may pause for a long time or not be able to make a sound. For example, "I want  ......water."


  • Prolongations. You may stretch a sound out for a long time, like waaaaaaaaater.


  • Repetitions. You may repeat parts of words, like wa-wa-wa-water.

What are the Signs of Stuttering?

Part-word repetitions – "I w-w-w-want water."
One-syllable word repetitions – "My-my-my turn."
Prolonged sounds – "Yesss."
Block– (pause) "Come here."
You may tense up your face or body when you have a block.

These types of disfluencies happen to many people that are not stuttering:

Adding a sound or word, called an interjection – "I um need to go home."
Repeating phrases – "He is-he is over there."
Changing the words in a sentence, called revision – "I had-I lost my wallet."
Not finishing a thought – "Her name is ... I forgot".

What Causes Stuttering?

The exact cause of stuttering is unknown but  possible causes include the following:

  • Many people who stutter have a family member who also stutters.

  • People who stutter may have small differences in the way the brain works during speech.

  • Frustration or tension can cause more disfluencies. Being excited or feeling rushed can make you stutter more as well.

What is Treatment for Stuttering?

A speech-language pathologist will perform an evaluation to analyze your child’s speech for different types of disfluencies. A  treatment plan will then be created utilizing strategies and exercises to improve speech fluency. This may include breathing management, slowing down speech rate and working on reduced secondary behaviors. 

Our Boca Raton Pediatric Speech Therapists treat stuttering in children.

If you would like to schedule your child for an evaluation please contact us here.

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