COVID-19 UPDATES: Find news and resources for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and the public.
Latest Updates | Telepractice Resources | Email Us

ASHA Offers Educational Resources About Stuttering for National Stuttering Awareness Week

Association Encourages Public to Seek Help From Speech-Language Pathologists, Learn More About What Stuttering Is—and Isn’t

May 9, 2022

(Rockville, MD) In recognition of National Stuttering Awareness Week, which runs from Monday, May 9, through Sunday, May 15, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is encouraging the public to learn more about stuttering and how speech-language pathologists (SLPs) support confident communication.

ASHA offers a variety of educational resources about stuttering at www.asha.org/stuttering-toolkit/, covering topics such as communication tips for people who stutter and their loved ones, when to consider seeking help for stuttering, and intervention options for children and adults. Also included are public service announcements that feature Taro Alexander, an ASHA Annie (Glenn) Award recipient and founder of SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young. A person who stutters himself, Alexander conveys—in compelling terms—what he experienced growing up and what the public can do to be helpful and understanding.

For the sake of all people who stutter, ASHA wishes to inform the public of the following:

  • Terminology: Use of terms such as “affliction” and “impediment” are outdated and are potentially offensive terms that you should always avoid when referring to stuttering.
  • Causes: Genetic and neurological factors contribute to stuttering. Many people who stutter have a family history of stuttering. Anxiety is not a cause of stuttering, although it can be a consequence. Nor is stuttering related to cognitive ability. This is a frequent misperception—based incorrectly on the reality that people who stutter may sometimes change the word, stop talking mid-stutter, or avoid speaking when they sense a moment of stuttering coming.
  • Prevalence: Around 5% of children stutter (this may include repetitions of consonant sounds and words; blocks; prolongations of sounds; and negative reactions to stuttering), and 1% of the adult population stutters.
  • Onset: Approximately 95% of children who stutter start to do so before the age of 4 years, and the average age of onset is between 2 and 3 years.
  • Recovery: Across age groups, recovery rates are estimated to be 60%–73% of individuals who were disfluent previously (with “recovery” meaning that people’s disfluencies didn’t persist). For those who show signs of stuttering that is likely to persist, intervention by SLPs can improve a person’s acceptance of stuttering and their comfortable participation in academic, social, vocational, and other activities. Early intervention is important, so parents and caregivers who are concerned about their child’s speech should always seek an SLP for assessment.
  • Intervention: The primary focus of intervention for stuttering is aiming for acceptance rather than aiming to “overcome” stuttering. This often includes a person disclosing that they stutter to others, which can reduce pressure to talk fluently. An SLP can help a person who stutters manage their own negative perceptions and negative self-talk. Intervention can also lead to increased fluency, although that is not generally the primary focus.
  • Helping Others Who Stutter: The best approach to take when communicating with someone who stutters is to be patient; give them the time they need to get their message across; create an environment that is accepting of stuttering; and have positive, open discussions about stuttering.

ASHA encourages the public to seek help from SLPs—highly trained professionals who provide services to people who stutter. These services can make an important and positive difference in their lives. Visit www.asha.org/profind for a searchable database of SLPs nationwide. Board-certified stuttering specialists can be found at www.stutteringspecialists.org. Parents and caregivers of children who stutter can also be connected to help through early intervention programs or by reaching out to their local school system to ask for an evaluation.

Experts about stuttering are available for media interviews. Contact Francine Pierson, ASHA Associate Director of Public Relations, at 301-296-8715 or fpierson@asha.org.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 223,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders.


ASHA Corporate Partners