Common Myths About Stuttering


Myth: People who stutter are not smart.

Reality: There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.


Myth: Nervousness causes stuttering.

Reality: Nervousness does not cause stuttering. We should not assume that people who stutter are prone to be shy, anxious, or nervous. Some people who stutter are confident extroverts and some people are shy.


Myth: Stuttering can be caused by imitation or by hearing another person stutter.

Reality: Nope. You can’t “catch” stuttering. No one knows the exact causes of stuttering, but recent research indicates that family history (genetics), neuromuscular development, and the child’s environment, including family dynamics, all play a role in the onset of stuttering.


Myth: It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”

Reality: Don’t do it.  It may be tempting, but this advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making the stuttering worse. It is more helpful to just listen patiently to the child.  


Myth: Stuttering is just a habit that people can break if they want to. 

Reality: Stuttering is a neurological condition.  It is not a bad habit.  Often, it cannot be “cured.” 


Myth: Children who stutter are imitating a stuttering parent or relative. 

Reality: As mentioned before, stuttering is not contagious. Often a child who stutters has a relative who stutters.  This is due to shared genes, not imitation.


Myth: People who stutter can’t be successful.

Reality: People who stutter are as smart and capable as anyone else. History is filled with exceptionally smart, talented and successful people who stutter, including: Winston Churchill (the Prime Minister of England during World War II) Albert Einstein (a Nobel Prize winner in physics), Charles Darwin (a scientist who documented the theory of natural selection and evolution), and Marilyn Monroe (a popular actress and model).


For more information, try our online class:

Working with Children Who Stutter