Stuttering: Myths, Beliefs and Straight Talk

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 1, 2009) — If you stutter, you are not alone. Experts agree that one percent of the world’s population stutters – that means 3 million Americans and 67 million people worldwide.

"Myths about stuttering persist despite our efforts to debunk them," said Jane Fraser, president of the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation. "They create a negative perception of people who stutter and harm their chances of success at school and in the workplace."

Speech-language pathologists, Peter Reitzes, M.A., and Greg Snyder, Ph.D., worked to compile an exciting new brochure to set the record straight:

Myth: Stuttering is my fault.

Straight Talk: While we may not know the exact cause of stuttering, we are certain of two things: stuttering is not your fault, and stuttering is not your parents’ fault. Stuttering is a biological and neurological condition. As such, stuttering is not contagious like the common cold and is not the result of bad parenting, a stressful childhood or a traumatic event. No one chooses to stutter and no one is to blame.

Myth: Stuttering can be outgrown.

Straight Talk: Most people start stuttering between 2-4 years of age, so if stuttering is going to go away by itself, it usually does so fairly soon. If stuttering continues into the teen years, it will most likely continue throughout adulthood. The good news is that there are many options and choices in managing stuttering productively.

Myth: Those who stutter cannot be successful.

Straight Talk: People who stutter are as smart and capable as anyone else. Many exceptionally smart, talented and successful people struggle with stuttering including: Vice President Joe Biden, actor James Earl Jones, 20/20 television reporter John Stossel, Oscar and Grammy award singer Carly Simon, San Diego Charger Darren Sproles, legendary star of the Chicago Bulls Bob Love, and many more. 

A copy of the free downloadable brochure Stuttering: Myths, Beliefs and Straight Talk, and a list of famous people who stutter can be found at the Stuttering Foundation Web site, www.stutteringhelp.org, or call 800-992-9392.

###

Note to reporters and editors: A PDF copy of the Stuttering: Myths, Beliefs and Straight Talk brochure can be e-mailed to you. A media resource kit on stuttering is also available to help with stories or sidebars. President Jane Fraser is available for interviews.