What Do the 3 Types of Stuttering Sound Like?

You’re likely here because you, or someone you love, is impacted by a stutter. You may have some understanding of what stuttering is, but in this video, we’ll explain the three types of stuttering and what they sound like. 

Stuttering can be defined as a disruption to the smoothness, or fluency, of a person’s speech. This may be through the repeating of words, stretching out a sound longer than needed, or difficulty getting sounds and words out.

There are many different aspects of stuttering and different ways it can appear in a person’s speech. However, three types of stuttering are most common. These are referred to as stuttering-like disfluencies.

The first type we’ll cover are called repetitions. Repetitions are when a person repeats the first sound or syllable of a word at least three times more than is needed. It may sound like this: “I w-w-w-want a snack” or “Put, put, put, put that away.”

A second type of stuttering is called a prolongation. Prolongations are when a person holds out a sound for too long, to where the speech sounds abnormal. It may sound like: “Ssssssssee the airplane?” or “Wwwwwwhere are you?”

The third and last example is called a block. Blocks are when a person is unable to move their mouth and use their voice to continue speaking. No voice or sound comes out during a block. Here’s an example of a block: “I am………………… tired.”

You might not know that other physical characteristics can come along with stuttering. These are called secondary behaviors. A person who stutters may have coexisting facial or body movements and characteristics that occur as they stutter. These can be:

  • Physical tension in the face, neck, or anywhere else in the body

  • Facial grimacing

  • Eye blinking

  • Movement of another part of the body, such as the arm, leg, or foot

  • Avoiding eye contact or turning away from the conversation partner, or  

  • Changes in vocal pitch or volume

Every person who stutters is different, and the characteristics of stuttering vary from person to person. If you or someone you love is dealing with a stutter, sit tight. We have a lot more information in our other video lessons on diagnosis of stuttering and even some techniques to help improve speech fluency.

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