By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Stuttering means repetitions of words or holding onto sounds, i.e. prolongation of certain sounds or words, that causes a disruption in the forward flow of speech. Stuttering varies from person to person.

It generally starts between the ages of 2 to 5 years; however, quite a few children develop this habit at a much later stage as well. Stuttering usually develops in a child if his/her language skills grow much faster than what he/she can handle. The main cause of stuttering is not precisely known. It is a very complicated and involved condition, and contrary to popular belief, parental behavior does not cause stuttering. It may be a combination of various biological factors like temperament, overall communication skill and the environment. Stuttering tends to run in family, but it is not yet clear as to what extent genetic factors influence such behavior.

There is no defined treatment for stuttering. Most early cases are short term and resolve on their own. However, some steps should be taken to help counter this behavior:

Professional help might be taken if:

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,