Stuttering is a disorder where speech is interrupted by repeated or prolonged sounds, syllables or words. The disruptions can also be presented in the form of hesitations or blocks. Stuttering may be accompanied by non-verbal behaviours e.g. grimacing.
Whilst there has been a vast amount of research in the area of stuttering, a single, definitive cause has not yet been identified. It is believed that genetics can play a large role and that the underlying cause is physical (i.e. to do with neural processing) rather than psychological factors. Stuttering can be common in the preschool age group. A recent study showed that by 36 months of age, 8.5% of children experience stuttering (Speech Pathology Australia).
Research has shown that early intervention is more likely to reduce stuttering. If left untreated, stuttering may cause anxiety and avoidance of social situations as the child matures.