Stuttering: Imagining a Solution to the Riddle The old saying by Van Riper (with a nod to Winston Churchill), that stuttering is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, is well known. While it would be preposterous for any of us to state that, 40 years later, we now have solved the riddle, we can ... Article
Article  |   November 01, 2009
Stuttering: Imagining a Solution to the Riddle
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Luc De Nil
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Research Institute, Hospital for Sick ChildrenToronto, Ontario, Canada
    Catholic UniversityLeuven, Belgium
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   November 01, 2009
Stuttering: Imagining a Solution to the Riddle
SIG 4 Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, November 2009, Vol. 19, 80-89. doi:10.1044/ffd19.3.80
SIG 4 Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, November 2009, Vol. 19, 80-89. doi:10.1044/ffd19.3.80
Abstract

The old saying by Van Riper (with a nod to Winston Churchill), that stuttering is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, is well known. While it would be preposterous for any of us to state that, 40 years later, we now have solved the riddle, we can say with a great degree of confidence that advances in scientific inquiry have brought us closer to understanding the factors that may trigger the onset, development, and/or maintenance of stuttering. Nevertheless, much still needs to be learned, because the riddle still poses many challenges. For instance, we do not fully understand why developmental stuttering starts somewhere between 2 and 9 years of age, but onset after puberty is rarely if ever seen (other than neurogenic stuttering, but that is a different story), or why boys are more likely to develop chronic stuttering than girls are.

Acknowledgments
The research reviewed in this paper has been supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Medical Research Council, and the National Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium). I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many research participants, doctoral and masters students, and research assistants, as well as Sophie Lafaille, all of whom made this work possible.
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