Why Do We Stutter?

A child’s brain is a very sensitive piece of elaborate hardware. There are too many factors to count that could affect a child’s brain development. Depending on the way the brain develops, a child may experience different results from growing up. Some of these children develop learning disabilities like dyslexia or chronic conditions such as ADHD. Others might develop a speech impediment called Stuttering. 

Everyone Stutters

It is important to realize these differences between humans are no definitions for these affected individuals. They do not serve as a basis for judgment, but rather represent the diverse possibilities of what life has to come for everyone. 

Stuttering usually begins between the ages of two and eight. Around this time is when a child’s language development is rapidly expanding. A child’s brain experiences higher cognitive demand as they begin to produce longer and more complex sentences. This increasing demand can affect how the child develops the control to produce speech. Motor pathways can possibly develop to not easily be able to keep up with language signals. This is when stuttering occurs. All children develop differently and more factors may influence the final product. 

Possible Influences

Genetic factors may contribute to the development of stuttering. Families with a history of stuttering prove this point to be somewhat true. Stuttering can run in families. Children who stutter are often found to have a relative who also stutters. According to the Stuttering Foundation of America, about 60 percent of people who stutter have a family member who does as well. Children who are identical twins also experience more identical patterns of stuttering than fraternal twins. 

Another fact we know is that stuttering affects males more than females. The Stuttering Foundation of America states that males are affected by stuttering up to four times as much as females. Females are also less likely to continue stuttering as adults. Despite this knowledge, researchers have yet to point to a specific gene that causes stuttering. It may be possible that if you carry a certain genetic material, you might be likely to stutter. 

Emotional Damage

Realizing that you have disfluencies as a child can be difficult. Some children become more aware of these differences and develop negative feelings about them. These negative feelings toward their speech can cause even more setbacks and affect their ability to communicate even greater. Some children may experience more anxiety and pressure to be “normal” than others. 

However, emotions can not be the primary cause of stuttering. This is because researchers can not effectively measure emotional factors. This does not mean that they don’t play a role in the development of stuttering though. Facing these negative emotions during a critical point in development can add a cognitive burden on children that stutter. 

A brain is a proper machine and with any machine comes working out the kinks. Although not one factor can determine why people stutter, there are many that influence individuals. Genetics, language development, and your environment can all influence the activity in your brain. Researchers have found that there is more activity in the right hemisphere of the brain of adults who stutter. There is also less activity from the left hemisphere in the areas that influence speech production. The research shows that the pathways in the brain actually function differently in those who stutter. This is just another factor that adds to the cause of stuttering. 

Stuttering is not a Problem

An individual may begin to stutter as a side effect. Most people who stutter have been stuttering since they were children. In some rare cases, stuttering can be the effect of suffering a brain injury or severe psychological trauma. This is known as “acquired stuttering” and the only differences between both types lie in the cause of stuttering and how it came about. 

As stated by the Stuttering Foundation of America, more than 70 million people worldwide develop stuttering. That is about one percent of the human population yet is an enormous amount of people. In the United States, about three million people stutter. It is important, in more than one way, to realize that it is okay to be different. 

Whether you stutter, have ADHD, dyslexia, or any other disfluency, it is okay and there is help out there if wanted. All children develop differently, but as adults, individuals learn more about these differences and either accept themselves or worry about themselves. Everyone is different, everyone worries, and everyone should love themselves to be the best possible them they can be.