Cause of Stuttering?? More than One Answer…

I recently wrote a paper for my Summer SLP Graduate course about Stuttering theories and treatments. My paper was entitled “The Impact of Developmental, Environmental, and Learning Factors on Stuttering” based on a Chapter in Barry Guitar’s textbook (sounds thrilling, I know). While I was not entirely excited about topic, it turned out to be more helpful than my doubtful #slp2b brain wanted to admit.

There is no one theory about the cause of stuttering. Some refer to genetics for their cause – “My dad and grandpa stuttered, so that’s why I do” – while others say it was the environment – “My mom punished me if I ever stuttered, but I ended up stuttering more”. Guitar’s (2006) textbook (Chapter 3) gives great insight into the generally accepted theories for causes of stuttering – I highly recommend his (expensive) textbook…

From my writing, I stumpled upon a quote by Nan Ratner, which I think is a great combination of what Guitar wrote and her own contributions:

“Parents understand that feeding children sugared foods or raising them in dusty houses causes neither diabetes nor asthma. However, both conditions are helped by changes in the child’s diet or home environment. It is useful to help parents problem-solve their own personal environments for fluency-enhancing and aggravating condition.” (p 54) 

The environment (parents), development (cognitive/social/language growth), and learning factors (operant/classical conditioning) play a key role in understanding and explaining the causes of stuttering. Both Guitar and Ratner pose great perspectives which I plan to use for my future clients who stutter.


  1. Guitar, B. (2006). Developmental, environmental, and learning factors. In P. Lappies, L. Napora & K.C. Dietz (Eds.), Stuttering: An integrated approach to its nature and treatment (3rd ed., pp. 71-103). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Ratner, N. B. (2004). Caregiver-child interactions and their impact on children’s fluency: Implications for treatment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 35, 46-56.

And to end, A humorous yet truthful video regarding teachers…yet I think it can be applicable for SLPs too 🙂

What Teacher’s Make

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