Stuttering 101

Stuttering basics are covered, including what, who and why people stutter. 


Historically speaking, very little is known about stuttering.  Almost NO meaningful advances have been made to understand why people stutter, and even less progress on defining a path to fluent speech for those with a stuttering disability.  Michael, the Founder of StutterMind, provides an overview of what he has learned from his 45 years of severe stuttering and his path to speech fluency.


What is Stuttering?  

It is an ancient distinctive human language disorder. There are about 5,000 different languages in uses on our planet.  Virtually all of the languages studied have a term or terms that identify stuttering.  1 percent of any large population of people demonstrates this problem. In the United States, there are about 3 million and worldwide approximately 70 million people who stutter.


Common stuttering occurrences include: repetition of sounds, sound prolongations, interjections (ah, um), broken words, blocking (audible & silent), word avoidance, words spoken w/ physical tension.  Disfluencies more often occur on the first 3 words and on longer words.  Words beginning with a consonant more likely to show disfluency than words starting with a vowel.


Speech Anxiety and Stuttering (cause and effect): For people with severe speech anxiety - the cause is often anxiety, and the effect is speech dysfluency.  

Other side of the spectrum are people who stutter – speech dysfluency is the cause and the effects can be cognitive and emotional thoughts and feelings, attitudes, anxiousness, fear and situational avoidance.


Stuttering can be a serious disorder impacting educational, occupational and social communications and can consume a significant amount of mind-space thinking about words.  This can be very stressful and significantly impact the quality of life for people who stutter.  Michael, StutterMind founder, was a severe stutterer for 45 years and fully empathizes with people who stutter.  

Why People Stutter?

Stuttering is biological, its in your DNA.  Stuttering is biased towards males.  Preschool children 2-1 ratio.  Studies show 95% of stutterers begin before the age of 7, and 75% outgrow the problem by age 12.  4 out of 5 teenage and adult stutters are male.  

Who Stutters?

Stuttering is hereditary.  If a man stutters, 9% chance daughter and 22% sons will stutter.  For females, odds are higher, 17% of daughters and 36% of sons.  For identical twins, if 1 twins stutters, there is over 75% chances the other twin stutters. 30% for fraternal twins.  

Mechanics of Stuttering

Speech is generated by sets of rapidly occurring complex behaviors. 150 different muscles involved simultaneously in speech production from your thorax, throat and mouth when a person talks.  Normal speech rates 150 to 175 words per minute, between 500 and 600 sounds per minute, and 10 individual sounds pre second! 


The Auditory Feedback Loop is critical for fluent speech.  Auditory feedback is an important element in the composite sensory return information used by the central nervous system in controlling speech-motor production.  Manipulation of the auditory feedback loop can have a dramatic effect on speech fluency.  For example: deafness, white-noise masking between 95-98 decibels, delayed auditory feedback, frequency altered feedback, lipped speech, whispering, singing or group speech affects your auditory feedback loop and typically result in fluent speech.  

StutterMind Step 1 - Understanding why we stutter is critical to begin your path to speech fluency.  Many speech pathologist (well intended) are often counterproductive for helping people who stutter because they do not have full understanding of why we stutter.  Focusing our attention on the words and sounds we fear is NOT helpful and can be counterproductive! 


Michael is a lifelong severe stutterer who now speaks fluently.  Watch the free videos and then join StutterMind and begin your path to fluency!


Ronald L. Webster (2014), From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6,300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief, North Charleston, South Carolina:  CreativeSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Yairi, E., Ambrose, N., & Cox (1996). Genetics of stuttering I; a critical review.  Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 39, 771-784.

Drayna, D., Kilshaw, J., & Kelly, J. (1999). The sex ratio in familial persistent stuttering.  American Journal of Human Genetics, 65, 1473-1475.

Howell, P., El-Yaniv, N., & Powell, D. (1987). Factors affecting flulency in stutterers when speaking under altred auditory feedback.  In H. Peters & W. Hulstinj (Eds.) Speech Motor Dynamics in Suttering (pp. 361-369). New Yor; Springer Press

National Social Anxiety Center, Public Speaking Anxiety