Stammering is a speech pattern that is characterised by disruptions in the normal flow of speech. These disruptions can take the form of repetitions of sounds or part of words, prolongations where the sound is stretched, or blocks where the sound does not come out at all. Sometimes breathing patterns are also affected.
Stammering is a relatively common speech disorder that affects people of all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds.
Stammering typically develops in early childhood, between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. In fact, approximately 8% of all children will experience some form of stammering at some point in their lives, although only 1% of children will continue to stammer in to adulthood. According to the Stuttering Foundation, this affects more than 70 million people worldwide.
Stammering affects boys more frequently than girls, with a ratio of 4:1. However, it's important to note that girls who stammer may be underrepresented in clinical populations due to cultural and social factors that may discourage them from seeking help or being diagnosed.
It's also worth noting that stammering can vary in severity from person to person, with some people experiencing only mild disruptions in their speech while others may have more severe and frequent stammering. Additionally, stammering can be intermittent, meaning that a person may experience periods of fluent speech followed by periods of increased stammering.
By increasing awareness and understanding of stammering, we can help reduce the stigma and promote acceptance of individuals who stammer, and work towards a more inclusive and supportive society.