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Causes of Stuttering

What causes stuttering?

There has been considerable research and even more speculation regarding the cause of stuttering. Three factors have emerged:

  • Genetics and neurophysiology: There is some evidence that stuttering runs in families and that differences in hemispheric processing may be involved in either a reduced capacity for linguistic development or a time delay in processing. However the evidence is not conclusive that stuttering is inherited or that it is the result of a neurological disturbance.

  • Learning and environmental factors: These theories focus on a child's learning environment and opportunities to learn speech. While there is some evidence linking the physical environment with stuttering, again it is only suggestive and not conclusive.

  • Emotional/psychological factors: In the past stuttering has been seen to be an emotional or anxiety disorder. The current view is that any negative emotions associated with stuttering are the result of having a stutter rather than the other way round. But many theorists believe there is a connection between the emotional or psychological state of the child and the severity of a stutter. Once again there is no conclusive evidence.