What Causes Stuttering in People?

Researchers have a variety of speculations about why stuttering or stammering occurs in some people. However, the exact cause of this speech condition is still unknown today. What researchers are sure of is that there are factors that may influence a person’s inability to speak fluently.

Language Development

Developmental stammering is the most usual form of the condition. That means it affects young children at a stage when they are learning how to speak and form language. Children who are still in the process of developing their speech and language tend to stutter when they speak. It occurs when children rack up their brain for the right words to convey their message. This is a sign that their speech and language abilities are not yet developed enough to help them express clearly what they intend to say. If you are very concerned with your child’s constant stammering, don’t be. Your child will outgrow it within about four years.


Most scientists believe that many forms of stammering have something to do with genetics. It is because of the tendency of the condition to run in families, supporting the claim that stammering may be inherited from one generation to another. However, the exact genetic mechanisms that cause stammering or genes that trigger the condition have yet to be found.

Neurogenic Disorder or Signal Problems

People may stutter because of difficulties in transmitting signals from the brain to the muscles and nerves that control speech. That happens when the speech muscles and nerves fail to function properly, which make it harder for the brain to coordinate with the various parts of the speech mechanism in the body. This stammering type is referred to in speech pathology terms as a neurogenic disorder. It usually occurs in children as well as adults who have brain injury or those who have suffered from stroke. In rare cases, lesions or structural flaws in the part of the brain that takes charge of a person’s motor speech trigger this neurogenic condition.

Psychogenic Disorder

Scientists explain that some forms of stammering originate from the brain’s activities such as reasoning and thought. This type of stammering is called psychogenic disorder. Compared to other forms of stammering discussed earlier, the psychogenic origin rarely affects people’s speech. It happens to people who have undergone extreme mental stress or trauma or those who have certain types of mental disorder.

However, experts believe that these emotional and mental problems lead to stuttering instead of causing the speech condition. For example, people who usually stammer may have to endure several emotional troubles like speaking on the telephone or in public. Others dread meeting new people. In some cases, people stammer when they are intensely excited, enraged, scared, or shocked. Aside from these extreme emotions, fatigue, intense pressure, and self-consciousness may also increase a person’s tendency to stutter while speaking.

Interestingly, many people who usually stutter can speak fluently when they talk to themselves, speak with a few friends, or sing with a crowd or group. The reason for that is still unclear, though.

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