What causes stuttering?

Stuttering can be caused, in rare cases, by psychological rather than physiological challenges. However, stuttering is more commonly attributed to head trauma, developmental challenges, or genetic predisposition. Scientists believe that three genes are particularly linked to persistent stuttering. Stuttering is most commonly caused in children as they are learning to speak. When it does not go away on its own, it can often be treated with speech therapy.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are no accepted biological or psychological reasons for why people stutter. Despite the challenges involved with stuttering, it isn’t associated with mental disorders, personality disorders, or intelligence disorders. The majority of stutterers have normal intelligence.

Most experts believe that stuttering comes from a combination of biological and environmental factors. Stuttering does run in families, which indicates some neurological and genetic causes. If one identical twin stutters, there’s a greater chance that the other twin will become a stutterer.

Peter Wolson, a psychoanalyst, considers psychological and social reasons for stuttering. He thinks some cases of stuttering arise from internal conflicts due to family influences.

Both of these theories are compelling. I still think we’ll need years of research before cracking down on the exact mechanisms that lead to stuttering. In the meantime, if you have a child who stutters, bring him or her to visit a speech-language pathologist for counseling before the stuttering too strongly affects his or her social well-being.
This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Physical Disabilities

Early Intervention to Stop Stuttering
Early Intervention to Stop Stuttering
What do Winston Churchill and James Earl Jones have in common besides a deep voice and a robust stature? They were both stutterers. Stuttering that l...
Read More
How can voice software assist me if I'm disabled?
Multiple Sclerosis FoundationMultiple Sclerosis Foundation
Most of today's tech devices have features that make it easier for people with disabilities to use t...
More Answers
How do I get a handicapped parking permit or placard?
Betty Long, RN, MHABetty Long, RN, MHA
Search online using your state name and “handicapped parking placard” for your state's requirements....
More Answers
Who is eligible for an NED-II voucher?
Multiple Sclerosis FoundationMultiple Sclerosis Foundation
To be eligible for a Non-elderly Disabled Category II (NED-II) voucher, you must be a non-elderly pe...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.