When someone repeats sounds, syllables, words and phrases in 10% or more of conversational speech, we consider this a fluency disorder (commonly called stuttering). Sometimes secondary behaviors accompany stuttering such as eye-blinking, grimacing, facial tension, or other non-speech-related movements. People who use excessive interjections such as “uh”, “um”, “er” and “well” (stammering) also interrupt the smooth flow of speech.

Young children who are learning language might exhibit a stuttering pattern in which whole words are repeated. This short-term behavior usually fades as quickly as it began; the child is simply thinking faster than his or her articulators can react. However, if the problem continues, you may want to schedule a professional evaluation. With early intervention and hard work, stuttering and stammering problems can be overcome.