More on Stuttering Definitions:

People have been struggling for years to create a definition of stuttering that explains and includes each aspect of the stuttering disorder. Here are a few examples of definitions:

  • Stuttering is a fluency disorder characterized by dysfluencies and interruptions that prevent smooth and easy flow of speech.
  • Stuttering is a communication disorder defined as “an interruption in the rhythm of speech in which the stutterer knows precisely what he wishes to say but can't for the moment say it, because of an involuntary repetition, prolongation, or cessation of sound” (Perkins 241).

These are examples of definitions that only focus on certain aspects of the stuttering disorder:

  • Audible Aspects: The stutter exhibits a disturbance in the ongoing rhythm or fluency of speech by repeating, prolonging, or both.
    • For this definition, it is important to recognize that there is a difference between the repeating and prolonging that normal speakers exhibit compared to stutterers.
  • Speaking Behavior: Stutterers react with fear and embarrassment as a result of their abnormal disfluencies. They often try to decrease the frequency of such occurrences or avoid them overall. Avoidance can often lead to the lack of communication, which leads to deeper problems. Additionally, these abnormal repetitions and prolongations are involuntary for stutterers.
    • When normal speakers have disfluencies in their speech, they do not show embarrassment, but rather recognize it as a part of speaking naturally.

“Stuttering” and “stuttering problems” are often separated into two different categories. Franklin H. Silverman defines “stuttering problem” as abnormal speaking behaviors exhibited by persons who stutter as well as to the undesirable behaviors, attitudes, and feelings caused by their attempts to cope with (minimize) anticipated negative reactions to their stuttering. Such attempts include not speaking in certain situations and not pursuing a desired vocation or advocation.

Severity of Stuttering:

The severity of a person's stuttering is determined by the amount that he or she stutters along with the amount of negative impact that stuttering has on the person's life. For example, a person who hardly stutters, but avoids talking could have a much more severe case of stuttering compared to someone who stutters more frequently but continues to speak and use talking as his or her main source of communication.