Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by excessive involuntary disruptions in the smooth and rhythmic flow of speech, particularly when such disruptions consist of repetitions or prolongations of a sound or syllable, and when they are accompanied by emotions such as fear and anxiety, and behaviors such as avoidance and struggle.
A. Disturbance in the normal fluency and time patterning of speech (inappropriate for the individual's age), characterized by frequent occurrences of one or more of the following:
(1) sound and syllable repetitions
(2) sound prolongations
(4) broken words (e.g., pauses within a word)
(5) audible or silent blocking (filled or unfilled pauses in speech)
(6) circumlocutions (word substitutions to avoid problematic words)
(7) words produced with an excess of physical tension
(8) monosyllabic whole-word repetitions (e.g., "I-I-I-I see him")
B. The disturbance in fluency interferes with academic or occupational achievement or with social communication.
C. If a speech-motor or sensory deficit is present, the speech difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with these problems.
Coding note: If a speech-motor or sensory deficit or a neurological condition is present, code the condition on Axis III.
Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Copyright 2000 American Psychiatric Association