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Stuttering

Stuttering is a speech problem that interferes with normal word patterns. A person who stutters involuntarily repeats, draws out, does not complete, or skips sounds or words when speaking.

A person who stutters may:

  • Repeat sounds, parts of words, and sometimes entire words.
  • Pause between words or within a word.
  • Use a different word in place of a word that's hard to speak.
  • Use incomplete phrases.
  • Show obvious tension or discomfort while talking. Other physical symptoms may occur, such as eye-blinking or head-nodding.
  • Make parenthetical remarks. This means a person who is talking seems to abruptly change subject matter. For example, a person may say, "I wonder if it will...where is the dog?"

Stuttering associated with normal speech development is called normal disfluency and usually goes away on its own before puberty. More severe forms of stuttering, called developmental stuttering, usually do not resolve without treatment.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised August 7, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.