Perspectives on Adult Stuttering

Photo of Michael Stones

Michael Stones, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, published an article on stuttering in The Conversation, an online journal that combines academic and journalistic orientations. The article attracted over 1000 readers per day after publication, with about half the readership from the USA and a quarter from Canada.

You can read it here.

The reasons for stuttering are best understood within genetics and neuroscience. Although the problem mainly begins in the first four years of life, most children recover. Less that 1% of adults stutter, with more men than women. The problem usually becomes less severe in later life.

The article has two themes. The first is that treatment for adults who stutter should take account of effects such as anxiety, depression and social phobia. These conditions might be present in about one-third of adults who stutter. Part of this treatment might be to rid that person of self-applied stigma about stuttering that is present throughout society.

The second theme is that stuttering may have some positive outcomes. Many notable people have lifelong stuttering. They include accomplished actors, sports stars, politicians, singers, musicians, writers etc. Some attribute their success to learned compassion and ‘stuttering toughness’, which makes them resilient to adversity. A recent example is Joe Biden, whose election as President of the United States gave hope to millions of people who stutter.