Stuttering in Adults: Signs & Symptoms

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson quickly defines stuttering. Then it explores the numerous signs and symptoms of stuttering in adults, including some obvious and some not so obvious ones.

What Is Stuttering?

We're social creatures. We rely heavily on communication, especially verbal communication, in order to live our lives. Stuttering is one disorder that can significantly impact our ability to communicate.

Stuttering is a type of speech disorder characterized by a negative impact on a person's fluency (smoothness and easiness of speech). You'll learn exactly what that entails in this lesson on the signs and symptoms of stuttering.

Well-Known Signs & Symptoms

First, let's go over some well-known signs and symptoms of stuttering. Bob suffers from stuttering. When Bob went to the local supermarket today, he wanted to ask one of the store employees, 'Where is the ketchup?' But it came out as, 'W-w-w-where is the ketchup?' In other words, Bob repeated part of the word. Part-word repetition is thus one possible sign of stuttering.

The store employee told Bob to follow him. They eventually reached the aisle where the ketchup was kept. Bob tried to say, 'Thank you,' but it came out as, 'Thhhhhhhank you'. That is to say, Bob had a hard time moving past the 'th' sound. Sound prolongation is another sign of stuttering.

Once Bob got to the checkout line, he noticed there were a lot of people. The lady in front of him turned around to make small talk while they were both waiting. She asked him how his day had been. Bob wanted to say, 'It's been a pretty good day today,' but it came out as, 'It's been -um you know uuuuuum like- a pretty good today'. This problem in smoothly transitioning from one word to the next, in this case between 'been' and 'a,' is another sign of stuttering. In other words, interjections between words may also be indicative of stuttering.

Other Signs & Symptoms

Unfortunately, there are many other signs and symptoms of stuttering, some more obvious than others. Sometimes, a person's speech can stop completely as a result of stuttering. Other times the speech will be 'blocked', which is when the person's mouth looks like they're about to say something, but nothing is actually being said. A few seconds later, the person may finish what they are saying.

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