Why Do People Develop a Stutter?

There are millions of people affected by a stutter worldwide, so if you’re one of those people, then know that you’re not alone with the issue. Of those millions affected, each one probably has asked the same question numerous times, of “why do people develop a stutter?” Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer, but there are contributing factors that can cause people to stutter.

What is known is that there are four factors likely to contribute to people developing a stutter, including the genetics of people affected.

The four factors that could cause a stutter:

1. Genetics

Research into brain development has come a long way in recent years, much to relief of parents, who may feel they’ve contributed to their kids’ speech problem. This isn’t the case at all.

Back in 2010, researchers at the NIDCD, (The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders) identified three genes present in people with a stutter, that aren’t present in non-stutterers. So there is a chance that some people who are born with the genes will progress and develop a stutter, due to genetics.

The three genes identified are found in the Chromosome 12 and 16 region of the brain.

These are believed to be the source of stuttering, but it’s unclear if these cause people to stutter, or if it’s a result of stuttering.

What is clear is that these genetics are directly linked to the way people speak.

Further research will continue into this aspect, as it could be used by speech therapists, to identify children who will naturally overcome the issue in time, and identify children who will need the professional assistance to overcome a speech impediment.

This isn’t in all cases as there other factors to consider.

2. Development

In the majority of instances, a stutter will develop in early childhood. Usually between the ages of three to five years of age. Statistics show that this is more common for boys than it is for girls, and of the girls who are affected, they tend to grow out of it naturally.

Boys though, can see the stutter worsen and carry on through into adulthood.

The age group, (3 – 5 years old) is when children are learning to speak, read, and write, so when it comes to speaking, the words are new, and that can bring with it repetition of words and phrases, which could offer clarification that they’re using the right words at the right times.

Part of the brain development stage.

Brain development stage

What can happen though is that it can lead to a habitual pattern, if it carries on for more than six months, which is when speech therapy may be required for children affected.

3. Neurogenic

Stuttering can be the result of a stroke, or any health condition that can lead to the brain being starved of oxygen. For the brain to function efficiently, it needs cellular neurons to communicate with each other. When those neurons are damaged, it complicates coordination. The result is that you know what you want to say, but the brain can’t process that from your thoughts, through to your speech, due to cellular damage in the brain.

4. Family dynamics

The dynamics within a family household can have a part in developing a stutter. For adults affected, you’ll often find that the stutter is more of a problem in high-pressure situations, when anxiety is high.
Scenarios like having to do a presentation to a group of people, fearing the stutter will affect your professionalism. This can lead to the stutter becoming accelerated.

Busy lifestyles, combined with putting high expectations on children or having high expectation of yourself can raise anxiety, and that will be a contributing factor to stuttering.

Any one or a combination of the above factors could be the cause of a stutter, but whatever it is causing the problem, there are techniques that can be implemented, helping people onto the course of speaking naturally, without any recognisable impediments.

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