What Causes stammering?

Although the details of the mechanism(s) behind the production of stammered disfluencies are not yet known, over the last 20 or so years, researchers have made a lot of progress in identifying what underlying factors predispose people to stammering and also what factors can act as triggers for moments of stammering to occur. In the two slide-shows below, I discuss in detail the nature of these predisposing factors and triggers.

When you play these slideshows, try to relate the information in them to your own personal experiences of disfluency and stammering.

Having worked through these two slideshows, ask yourself the following questions…

· Quite apart from stammering, have I previously noticed that my speech is error-prone, and/or that the accuracy of my articulation falls short of the standards I aspire to?

· Quite apart from when I am stammering, am I particularly sensitive to (or concerned about) how my speech sounds, or may sound to other people?

An important point to consider in relation to the above questions is that the presence of underlying impairments may limit the quality of speech and articulation you are capable of when you are not stammering. The implications of this possibility will be discussed in detail later on in this module.

On our webpage entitled — the Mechanisms behind Stammering — we will explain in detail…

· how the underlying impairments discussed in these two slideshows can undermine our confidence in our ability to speak well enough to communicate in the way we want;

· how our anticipation of communication difficulty or failure then causes our speech production mechanism to fail;

However, before going into detail about the mechanisms behind stuttering, first of all, we suggest that you work through the material on the page about the Secondary symptoms of stammering.