A fluency or stuttering disorder is considered to be a significant interruption in the flow of speech. A fluency disorder is typically characterized by repetitions (sounds, syllables, words and/or prhrases), sound prolongations, and/or atypical breathing patterns (e.g. breath-holding, inappropriate sequencing of inhalation/exhalation). These speaking patterns may or may not be accompanied by secondary characteristics such as facial grimacing, eye blinking, excessive tension in the throat or neck...

At this time there is no known definite cause of a fluency disorder or stuttering. Many children go through a stage called "normal nonfluency" when they are first developing language. This stage is characterized mainly by repetitions of sounds, syllable, words and/or phrases, revisions (starting to say one thing and changing, or revising what is said) and/or use of interjections (um, uh). Normal nonfluencies usually sound "easy" and are not accompanied by "tension." You can help your language developing child by being a good listener (not interrupting, filling in words or speaking for your child/student), giving your child/student your attention when conversing (orienting your body/face/eyes towards him/her) and modeling the use of slow and easy speech.

For more information, visit the website for the Stuttering Foundation of America: www.stutteringhelp.org