Wirthlin Survey Synopsis

A national survey of 1002 respondents* conducted by
Wirthlin Worldwide and The Stuttering Foundation.
Plus or minus 3% error rate:

How should parents react to a child who begins to stutter?

  1. Ignore the problem
    • 6% Yes
    • 94% No
  2. Change the child's environment
    • 21% Yes
    • 72% No
    • 7% Don't know/refused
  3. Seek professional help
    • 84% Yes
    • 14% No
    • 1% Don't know/refused
  4. Tell the child, "slow down/relax"
    • 88% Yes
    • 10% No
    • 2% Don't know/refused
  5. Correct the child and finish sentences
    • 33% Yes
    • 65% No
    • 2% Don't know/refused

  • "As many as 20 percent of all children have disfluencies severe enough to concern their parents," Jane Fraser, president, The Stuttering Foundation.
  • This complex disorder affects 3 million Americans.
  • Nearly 90 percent said "slow down and relax" is what they would tell a child who begins to stutter. Yet such simplistic advice won't help stop stuttering, and may actually frustrate a child who stutters.
  • 33 percent of those surveyed said they would correct a child who is stuttering or that they would finish the child's sentences, which may aggravate the problem.
  • 84 percent of those surveyed said they would seek professional help if their child developed a stuttering problem.

What should parents do?


      1. Remain calm if you hear your child stutter.
      2. Give the child your attention and listen carefully, allowing the child to complete his sentence without interruption.
      3. Talk in a slow, relaxed way yourself; this will be more effective than any criticism or advice to 'try it again slowly.'
      4. Convey that you are listening to what your child says, not how she says it.

Parents' best opportunity to help their child is to learn more about stuttering and appropriate methods of handling it. The Stuttering Foundation can provide a list of world wide resources for free by calling 1-800-992-9392, or visit the Web site, www.stutteringhelp.org .


* Demographics on respondents:

  • 48% were male; 52% female
  • Age ranged from 18-75 and older, with 52 % falling between the prime parenting ages of 30-54 years old; and 55% are married
  • 76% of respondents have 1 or more children
  • 61% have completed some education past high school
  • 62% are employed full- or part-time
  • 85 % are registered to vote
  • Racial mix: 10% Hispanic; 73% White; 12% African-American; 4% Other mixed ethnic origin.
  • Geographically diverse (9-point Geo-codes, from New England to the Pacific)

    Please contact The Stuttering Foundation for complete survey results.