A speech disorder characterized by repeated or prolonged words, sounds or syllables that affect the flow or fluency of speech, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Stuttering often is involuntary and can be accompanied by rapid blinking or lip tremors. Stuttering symptoms manifest in early childhood. While many children outgrow stuttering, a small percentage of adults stutter as well. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association notes that most stuttering can be treated by behavioral therapies.There is some ambiguity about the difference between stuttering and stammering and which term is appropriate in different contexts.
However, organizations such as the NIDCD, Mayo Clinic and the National Stuttering Association generally use the term stuttering to refer to the speech disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders debuted the new term “childhood-onset fluency disorder” to refer to stuttering, along with a few new criteria for its diagnosis. However this term is not yet widely used.The word stuttering is preferred over stammering. Do not refer to an individual as a stutterer. Rather, use people-first language, such as “a person who stutters.” Refer to stuttering only if it is relevant* to the story.« Back to Glossary Index