Colton Nover, 10, works on a school report with his mother, Holly Nover, in St. Johns, Florida. Both mother and son stutter. Stuttering sometimes seems to be passed down in families. (AP/Fran Ruchalski)

Colton Nover, 10, works on a school report with his mother, Holly Nover, in St. Johns, Florida. Both mother and son stutter. Stuttering sometimes seems to be passed down in families. (AP/Fran Ruchalski)

Now-President Joe Biden talks with Brayden Harrington, 12, on February 10, 2020, in Gilford, New Hampshire. Both have struggled with stuttering. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Now-President Joe Biden talks with Brayden Harrington, 12, on February 10, 2020, in Gilford, New Hampshire. Both have struggled with stuttering. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Brayden wrote a book called Brayden Speaks Up: How One Boy Inspired the Nation. (Handout)

Brayden wrote a book called Brayden Speaks Up: How One Boy Inspired the Nation. (Handout)

J. Scott Yaruss is a speech-language pathologist. He studies speech problems like stuttering. (Michigan State University)

J. Scott Yaruss is a speech-language pathologist. He studies speech problems like stuttering. (Michigan State University)

Moses told God that he was not a good speaker. But God said that He would teach Moses what to say—and provide help in his brother Aaron.

Moses told God that he was not a good speaker. But God said that He would teach Moses what to say—and provide help in his brother Aaron.

Spit it Out?

Posted: May 1, 2022

Have you ever had trouble pulling a loose tooth? The tooth dangles. But it’s stuck! Sometimes words get stuck. People who stutter can’t pull words easily out of their mouths. They may repeat parts of a word, stretch out sounds, or take long pauses.

About 70 million people in the world stutter. Stuttering usually begins between ages two and six. Eight out of 10 children outgrow it—but some don’t. Many famous people have struggled with stuttering, including President Joe Biden. To improve his speech, President Biden spent hours reciting poems in front of a mirror!

What causes stuttering? There’s no single answer. We know it’s not because someone is shy or not smart.

J. Scott Yaruss is a speech-language pathologist (path-ol-uh-jist) at Michigan State University. (A pathologist studies the causes and effects of disease or injury.) Dr. Yaruss says researchers have found that blood flow is different in the brains of people who stutter.

There are parts of the left side of the brain that are very active when people speak. Those areas aren’t as active in people who stutter. Parts of the right side of the brain not used for speaking are overly active in people who stutter. Communication between the two sides of the brain may be interrupted. Stuttering also seems to be passed down in families.

Most stutterers use speech therapy to improve. Brayden Harrington is 14 years old. He says his struggle with stuttering has inspired him to one day be a speech-language pathologist. He even wrote a book. You can check it out from the library! Look for Brayden Speaks Up: How One Boy Inspired the Nation.   

Why? God designed each of us with unique gifts to serve one another. Moses didn’t think he was a good speaker. God helped him: “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:12)

Pray to be kind to people who speak differently than you do.