National Stuttering Awareness Week

By Katie Kimberly, Technical Support Analyst, FSU Libraries

I started stuttering at the age of four years old. Throughout my childhood, I was consistently bullied because of my stutter, which made me speak differently from my peers at school. To express myself and cope with the challenges, I turned to art as a means of communication, since it didn’t require speaking and allowed me to be creative. Stuttering is not unique to me in my family; my PawPaw (Grandpa) also had a stutter. As time went on, I made a conscious decision to be more open about my stuttering. Now, whenever I introduce myself to others, I confidently disclose that I stutter without any hesitation. It is crucial to embrace my true self and take pride in who I am as a person. 

So, in honor of National Stuttering Awareness Week, I want to share 10 facts about stuttering because it is crucial to share these facts to raise awareness about stuttering. 

10 Facts About Stuttering 

What is stuttering? 

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables.   

Stuttering and childhood 

Stuttering usually begins in childhood, between the ages of 2 and 5 years. 

Stuttering is associated with differences in the brain; it is not just a behavior that children learn or pick up from listening to other people who stutter.  

About one percent of adults and five percent of children stutter.  

Can stuttering be genetic?  

Stuttering is a genetically-influenced condition: most of the time, if there is one person in a family who stutters, there will be another person in the family who also stutters.  

Are there times when people who stutter do not stutter?  

People generally do not stutter when they sing, whisper, speak in chorus, or when they do not hear their own voice. There is no universally accepted explanation for these phenomena. 

Stuttering can begin gradually and develop over time, or it can appear suddenly.  

Stuttering varies significantly over time: Sometimes, people will have periods in which the stuttering appears to go away, only to have it return. This variability is normal.    

How many people stutter worldwide?  

More than 80 million people worldwide stutter, which is about 1% of the population. In the United States, that’s over 3 million Americans who stutter. 

Are people who stutter normal?  

People who stutter are normal except they lack the ability in varying degrees to get words out fluently.