In part one and two of this series, we talked about the importance of the patient and patient’s family input as well as the three components of stuttering. The most common question I get asked as a speech-language pathologist is “What causes stuttering?” The short answer is “We don’t know the exact cause.” However, here are some of the things we do know, as presented by Craig Coleman, M.A., CCC-SLP:
- Genetics play a major role: if there is a family history of stuttering, then the child is at a higher risk. Researchers have identified mutations on chromosomes 3 and 12 which may also play a part (for more information see article “In Search of Stuttering’s Genetic Code”).
- There appears to be a difference in brain function shown by neuro-imaging studies. During speaking tasks, more areas of the brain may be activated in people who stutter than people who do not.
- Stuttering is connected to the relationship between the motor and language systems. Speech and language may not be as “compartmentalized” in people who stutter.
- Reaction to stuttering can be shaped by personality and environment.
- It is extremely rare that stuttering is related to emotional or psychological disorder.