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diagnosogenic theory

The theory that "stuttering" as a clinical problem and as a definite disorder, was found to occur not before being diagnosed but after being diagnosed. According to this theory, the problem of stuttering arises when a listener, usually a parent, evaluates or classifies or diagnoses the child's developmental hesitations, repetitions, and prolongations as stuttering, and reacts to them as a consequence with concern and disapproval. As the child senses this concern and disapproval he reacts by speaking more hesitantly and with concern of his own, and finally, with the tensions and struggle involved in efforts to keep from hesitating or repeating.

Definition reprinted with permission from Hood, Stephen B. (editor) available from Stuttering Foundation of America: Stuttering Words (Publication No 2: Speech Foundation of America)