Last reviewed 01/2018

Stammering is a disorder of rhythm and fluency of speech.

It is about four times more common in males than females, and is usually a short-lived condition in the early stages of language development.

The cause of stammering is not known. Brain damage, anxiety and genetic factors play a role in the development of stuttering in certain cases.

Stammering can take the form of repetition of syllables or words, or of blocks in the production of speech. This condition is not usually associated with a psychiatric disorder. However, it can cause stress and embarrassment to the individual.

In younger children, attention should be diverted away from the stammer, in the expectation of spontaneous improvement. In older children speech therapy may be necessary; formal exercises, such as syllable timed speech, may be taught.