The exact cause of stuttering is not known, but researchers believe that persistent stuttering development falls into a few categories.
Genetics: Stuttering tends to run in families and it is thought that it may be inherited. Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have identified four different genes in which mutations are associated with stuttering.1
Developmental: Stuttering that develops in childhood may stem from a child's difficulty in matching motor abilities to the timing of speech expression.
Medical conditions: Damage to the parts of the brain responsible for speech from strokes, head trauma or other brain injuries can cause stuttering.
Mental health: In rare cases, an emotional trauma can lead to stuttering.
There is no cure for stuttering, though there are different methods that may treat stuttering based on age and the intended goals. Working with a skilled speech-language pathologist (also known as a speech therapist) is the best way to decide upon a treatment option for you or the person you want to help.
How to find a speech therapist
1) Go to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and use their ASHA ProFind tool to find a therapist.
2) Speech Buddies is a Brooklyn, New York-based online marketplace to find in-home, office or virtual appointments with a speech therapist.
3) Each state has an early intervention program for children from birth to three years old. Go to the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center to look up your state.
The methods a speech therapist uses may be different for children than adults.
While some children do outgrow stuttering, support to parents and the children is still needed.
Parents can provide support to their children. They can give the children gentle guidance and not react negatively when they stutter.