Several different approaches are available to treat children and adults who stutter. Because of varying individual issues and needs, a method — or combination of methods — that's helpful for one person may not be as effective for another.
A few examples of treatment approaches — in no particular order of effectiveness — include:
- Controlled fluency. This type of speech therapy teaches you to slow down your speech and learn to notice when you stutter. You may speak very slowly and deliberately when beginning this type of speech therapy, but over time, you can work up to a more natural speech pattern.
- Electronic devices. Several electronic devices are available. Delayed auditory feedback requires you to slow your speech or the speech will sound distorted through the machine. Another method mimics your speech so that it sounds as if you're talking in unison with someone else. Some small electronic devices are worn during daily activities.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of psychological counseling can help you learn to identify and change ways of thinking that might make stuttering worse. It can also help you resolve underlying stress, anxiety or self-esteem problems related to stuttering.
Parental support and involvement is a key part of helping a child cope with stuttering, especially with some methods. Follow the guidance of the speech-language pathologist to determine the best approach for your child.
Treatment for stuttering may be done at home, with a speech-language pathologist or as part of an intensive program. The goal is to help you or your child communicate effectively and fully participate in daily activities.
Although some medications have been tried for stuttering, no drugs have been proved yet to help the problem.
Aug. 20, 2014
- Stuttering. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering.htm. Accessed July 21, 2014.
- Childhood-onset fluency disorder (stuttering). In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed July 21, 2014.
- Stuttering. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/stutter.aspx. Accessed July 21, 2014.
- The facts. Stuttering Foundation of America. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=17. Accessed July 21, 2014.
- 7 tips for talking with your child. Stuttering Foundation of America. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/7-tips-talking-your-child-0. Accessed July 21, 2014.
- Craig A, et al. Trait and social anxiety in adults with chronic stuttering: Conclusions following meta-analysis. Journal of Fluency Disorders. 2014;40:35.
- Blomgren M. Behavioral treatments for children and adults who stutter: A review. Psychology Research and Behavior Management. 2013;6:9.
- Strand EA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 28, 2014.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2014.
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