From People who Stutter

Can stuttering ever be cured or is it only possible to give people methods to control their stuttering?

Effective treatments are available for stuttering in all age groups and one branch of our current NHMRC-funded program of research is investigating why our treatments work. It may be that stuttering can be effectively overcome with treatment in early childhood, but it seems that treatment later in life provides people with ways to control their stuttering.  

Do anxious people start to stutter or does stuttering make people anxious?

Anxiety does not cause stuttering, but can make it worse. In what becomes a vicious circle, stuttering can also lead to increased anxiety, especially in social situations, at school, on the phone and/or at work.

Isn't prolonged speech just as bad as stuttering? People think I am a bit stupid either way.

An important feature in the Camperdown Program is that participants do not need to use all components of prolonged speech (drawling, etc), only those that seem critical for controlling their stuttering. Also, Camperdown participants use the speech naturalness rating scale to make their prolonged speech sound as natural as possible. However, it is up to individuals whether they use their version of prolonged speech all the time or only when they want to be stutter-free.

Could stuttering be caused by a physical malformation of the brain?

The cause of stuttering is not known, although stuttering can be characterized as a response to some problem with the brain processes underlying the producton of spoken language. Recent research has identified some very minor differences in the brains of adults who stutter, but it is not known if these are a cause or a result of stuttering.

Where can I get surgery to stop my stuttering?

There is no surgery to help stuttering.

From Parents of Children who Stutter

Why is it that more boys seem to stutter than girls?

The reason for this is not known. It is known, however, that more girls recover naturally than boys in the first year or two after stuttering starts. Thus, while the ratio of boys to girls in early childhood is about 2:1, the ratio is around 4:1 later in life.

My son stutters which causes him to be picked on in the playground which makes his stuttering worse. What can he do? What can I do?

Teasing and bullying for whatever reason can have serious consequences for children and need to be stopped. Every child is different so it is wise to get advice from a speech pathologist who specialises in stuttering. Age is also relevant, and you should approach your child's teacher and request strongly that something be done about this unacceptable situation.

From Clinicians

I recently assessed a 2 year old girl who started stuttering very suddenly, approximately one month ago. Should I start treatment straight away with the Lidcombe Program?

Guidelines have been established for when to start the Lidcombe Program. They take into consideration the fact that stuttering resolves naturally for many children soon after onset and the fact that the Lidcombe Program is thought to be just as effective after a "watchful waiting" periodof a year as it is if introduced soon after onset. However, individual circumstances must always be taken into consideration. Further information is available in The Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention: A Clinician's Guide. Lidcombe Program training for clinicians is alsoavailable through the Lidcombe Program Trainers Consortium.

I treat only a few stuttering clients in my adult clinic, so I don't have a rating machine. How can I reliably assess my client's stuttering levels and their progress through treatment without one?

Percentage of syllables stuttered (%SS) can be measured without a rating machine. You can do it with a hand-held calculator or on a computer. Computer programs are also available. However,overall stuttering severity can also be measured with a 9-point rating scale (for more information see two articles published in 2004 by Sue O'Brian and colleagues).