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Suffolk Center for Speech


Understanding Stuttering

What is it?

  • Stuttering is an interruption to the flow of speech. This can happen in different ways:
    • Part-word or sound repetitions (“I w-w-want a snack.”)
    • Whole-word repetitions (“Go-go-go away.”)
    • Prolonged sounds (“Ssssstop that!)
    • Blocks or stops (“Where is the pause bathroom?”) 
  • Stuttering can include tension and negative feelings. There are also many secondary behaviors that might occur during stuttering moments. Some common secondary behaviors include eye blinking, facial tension, and involuntary movements. 
  • There is unfortunately no simple cure for stuttering. However, people who stutter can learn and implement strategies to help them speak with greater ease and increase their participation in social interactions. 

Some strategies to increase fluency:

  • Light articulatory contact encourages speakers to use soft tongue and lip movements in order to reduce tension in the articulators during speech production. 
  • Phrasing/chunking and reduced rate of speech allow for more time to execute motor-speech plans. 
  • Easy onset is when a speaker inhales slowly before gently and gradually turning their voice “on”.

How to be a good listener to people who stutter: 

  • Be patient! Do not finish sentences or fill-in words for a person experiencing a stuttering moment. 
  • Focus on the message that is being communicated rather than how it is being said. 
  • Let the speaker know, by what you say and do, that you are listening to them! 

-Samantha W. 


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 2022. Stuttering. [online] Available at: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering/ 

NSAStutter. n.d. National stuttering association. [online] Available at: http://www.nsastutter.org.

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