person with difficulty and questions in studies

Diagnosing Disfluencies (stuttering)

One of the most common speech-language diagnosis people think about when finding out what I do for a living is, stuttering. Stuttering is a diagnosis that is on a continuum, there are some cases that are severe and others that are mild. Additionally, there are many different stuttering types. See below for the types of disfluencies you would see with people who stutter:

– Repeating whole words (I, I, I, I want a cookie)

– Repeating first sound or syllable of words (C-C-Can: Mo-Mo-Mommy)

– Repeating ends of words (are we going ing ing there?)

– Prolonging first sound of word (MMMMMMommy)

– Tense blocks at beginning of words (C-an I go?)

– Insertion of silent pauses or broken mid word (y—ou know)

The above list is known to be core stuttering like disfluencies. There is also another set of disfluencies that is common with children who stutter however, if seen without any of the core disfluencies, then your child wouldn’t be considered to have stuttering, but potentially cluttering, depending on the frequency of these type of disfluencies:

– Re-phrasing or revising ideas (can we, I want to go there)

– Adding extra words or “fillers” (um, you know)

– Repeating a whole phrase (I like to, I like to)

– Hesitations at the beginning of a sentence (….uh well I don’t think)

Two more things to note. First, we all have disfluencies in our speech. There is not one person that doesn’t produce one of these types of disfluencies covered, and if you pay close attention, I bet you would realize it happens a lot more than you think. Second, there are other characteristics needed to diagnose stuttering. What has been covered in this blog is the larger indicator of the several indications that lead a clinician to diagnose a person with stuttering. Among those other indications are:

– Physical manifestations (eye blinking, twitching, etc.)

– Self-awareness

– Age

– Length of time person has had disfluencies

In the next blog we will be covering the several ways SLP’s treat disfluencies.



Did you know that stuttering is also known as speech fluency? All people experience dysfluent speech at times. Dysfluent speech ranges from word finding difficulties to initial sound, syllable, and word repetitions. Dysfluent speech becomes problematic when it impacts one’s ability to successfully communicate with others. Patient and family education is an important part of fluency therapy.