Many people want to know – does stuttering ever go away? The answer depends on several factors: age; severity; treatment choices and persistence.
The good news is that research has shown that 75% of preschoolers aged 2 – 5 years will recover spontaneously – without any therapy. Therefore, the remaining 25% will grow up to be older children and adults who stutter. They will need some form of treatment to reduce or eliminate their stuttering. Prognosis is good with the right treatment from the right specialist.
It is also important to know the risk factors that lead to more severe disfluency and perhaps more intensive treatment over a longer period of time.
The chart below describes some characteristics of “normal disfluency” and “stutter-like disfluency.”
Normal Disfluency (less risk) Stutter-like disfluency (higher risk)
Phrase Repetitions Sound Syllable Repetitions
Multi-syllabic Whole Word Repetitions Tension/Struggle
No tension or struggle Changes in pitch/loudness
No secondary behaviors Secondary behaviors
No negative reaction or frustration Negative reaction/frustration
No family history of stuttering Family History of stuttering
Treatment in Adults?
Once a child has reached 6 or 7 years old there is a different story. Most children at this age are past the window of spontaneous recovery. Only with effective therapy will the child have a chance to recover. If disfluencies continue into adulthood, treatment is more difficult than childhood. The child gradually learns to fear speaking situations and may be teased or bullied. When older, speaking situations become more important. Job interviews and presentations in the workplace become threatening to the adult.
Adults can recover from stuttering if they have appropriate treatment from stuttering specialists. The treatments that are most effective are well researched, intensive therapy programs based on prolonged speech.
Find out more facts in my new e-book “Stuttering 101”