Definition reprinted with permission from Hood, Stephen B. (editor) available from Stuttering Foundation of America: Stuttering Words (Publication No 2: Speech Foundation of America)
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Actions or patterns of behavior which the stutterer uses in trying to avoid difficulty. These include abnormal variations employed such as postponements, word substitutions, circumlocutions, vocalized or nonvocalized pauses, or the complete refusal to speak. Such maneuvers usually tend to increase any fear of difficulty the stutterer may have. Unlike the escape behaviors that occur during the moment of stuttering itself in an attempt to permit release, avoidance behaviors occur prior to the moment of stuttering in an attempt to totally prevent its occurrence.