What is stuttering?

Stuttering (aka stammering) is a speech disorder shared by roughly 3 million Americans in which the forward flow of speech is impeded by repeated sounds, syllables, or words.  Often the stutter itself is accompanied by secondary behaviors such as rapid eye blinking or head jerks.  These are behaviors that have developed to help the individual deal with the blockages of speech.

Stuttering and its secondary characteristics can be treated by a qualified speech language pathologist and the success rate of such treatment is such that although an estimated 5% of children will stutter at some point during their development, less than 1% of adults stutter.  

Etiology of Stuttering

The breakdown theories of stuttering suggest effects of early environmental stress and an important role to neurological predispositions factors.

The repressed need theories of stuttering suggests that a stutter has an emotional need that has not been met and stuttering behaviors are a symbolic expression or symptom of that repressed need.

The anticipatory struggle behavior theories suggest that stuttering is a learned behavior and is triggered by anticipating and fearing the stuttering and struggling to avoid stuttering.

Most professionals consider stuttering to be multifactorial meaning that it is the likelihood of two or more causes contributing to stuttering.


Fogle, P. (2008). Foundational Information about stuttering. Speech Disorders. (page 373).Mason, OH. Cengage Learning

Handouts Used in the Parent/Child Training Program


The following forms are used by Stuttering Center clinicians during treatment of young children who stutter and their families (as described in the Family Focused Treatment Program, published in the ASHA Journal Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (Yaruss, Coleman, & Hammer, 2006).


Esperanza Children’s Therapy

1681 Hickery Loop

Las Cruces, NM 88005




MECA Therapies

1350 Hillrise Circle

Las Cruces, NM 88011



The Stuttering Foundation



Spanish Resources



American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


National Stuttering Association


KIDS HEALTH (also available in Spanish)