One of the most commonly asked questions about stuttering is: Is there a cure? Because so many different treatments are available and so many adults stutter, perhaps the answer is no.

But this is misleading. Speech-language therapists and many researchers say great changes can be made if a stutter is treated early enough. Also, the word cure implies that something undesirable no longer happens and with a condition like stuttering, with deeply ingrained and complex habit patterns especially in adults, it is unreasonable to expect fluency to happen easily. So therapists and others offering treatment talk about control rather than cure.

Many people have benefited greatly from treatments available. Some of the habits associated with stuttering are easy to isolate, control and sometimes eliminate. Others are more difficult. What helps most in overcoming or controlling a stutter is what you do yourself. Before any treatment can be effective, a person who stutters has to accept responsibility for his or her behaviour and for carrying out the changes. Other attitudinal changes will need to be considered as well, such as a willingness to resist the temptation to hide the stuttering, a willingness to experiment with different methods and a willingness to enter difficult speaking situations. For information on where to help for a stutter, click here.

For adults, working on stuttering is usually a long-term undertaking, requiring courage, commitment and self-acceptance. Becoming fluent may be liberating, bringing about greater independence, openness and confidence.

Very young children are more easily guided and their habits are less deeply entrenched. That is why treatment for them is more effective. Parents take responsibility in seeking treatment so their child might not even be aware of being guided. For more information for parents about how they can help a child with a stutter, click here.