Five Myths About Stuttering; Foundation Uses Milestone Year to Debunk Myths

Jun 13, 2007, 01:00 ET from Stuttering Foundation

    MEMPHIS, Tenn., June 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stuttering affects
 more than three million Americans, including 20/20 co-anchor John Stossel,
 basketball star Kenyon Martin, Tonight Show announcer John Melendez,
 Chicago Bulls legend Bob Love, actor James Earl Jones and singers Carly
 Simon and Mel Tillis.
     "Myths persist through the years despite our efforts to demystify this
 complex disorder," said Jane Fraser, president of the 60-year-old nonprofit
 Stuttering Foundation. "These myths create a negative perception of those
 who stutter and can harm their chances of success at school and in the
     Myth busters include:
     Myth:     People who stutter are not smart.
     Reality:  There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.
     Myth:     Nervousness causes stuttering.
     Reality:  Nervousness does not cause stuttering. Nor should we assume that
               people who stutter are prone to be nervous, fearful, anxious or
               shy. They have the same full range of personality traits as
               those who do not stutter.
     Myth:     Stuttering can be "caught" through imitation or by hearing
               another person stutter.
     Reality:  You can't "catch" stuttering. Recent research indicates that
               family history (genetics), neurological development, the child's
               environment and family dynamics all play a role in the onset of
     Myth:     It helps to tell a person to "take a deep breath before
               talking," or "think about what you want to say first."
     Reality:  This advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making the
               stuttering worse. More helpful responses include listening
               patiently and using slow and clear speech yourself.
     Myth:     Stress causes stuttering.
     Reality:  As mentioned above, many complex factors are involved in the
               onset of stuttering. Stress is not the cause, but it can
               certainly aggravate stuttering.
     Answers about stuttering, a free downloadable poster, and a list of
 famous people who stutter can be found at the Stuttering Foundation Web
 site,, or call 800-992-9392.

SOURCE Stuttering Foundation