The precise cause for stuttering is not clear, but research has shown it has both genetic and neurological components. Five percent of all kids stutter but 75 percent of them will grow out of it without any therapy. That leaves 1 percent of adults, or more than 68 million people worldwide, with a stutter.
As for a cure, Klein said, "There is no cure for stuttering. Once somebody has been stuttering for about three or four years, they are always going to stutter. And so, our job as therapists is to make them the best communicator they can be."
So why don't people stutter when they sing? Klein explained, "Singing is really driven from a different part of the brain. The person knows the words by heart so there's no word finding or anything else. There's a lot of constant phonation. The words are produced more slowly when you sing. You elongate the words. So, there are a lot of different reasons."
Alina credits Our Time with helping her regain her spirit.
"Our Time has changed my life. Without it I wouldn't be accepting of how I speak and, and now I am. I have friends who know how I feel and that is amazing."
She has taken her newfound confidence to help make the transition from home school to college in New York City where she's studying to become a speech pathologist. She's also made her television acting debut starring as a stuttering woman in an episode of ABC's "What Would You Do?"
The experience, she said, was "a lot of fun" and she was also pleased to see most of the bystanders in the "What Would You Do?" scenario stand up for a stutterer. Watch the scene here.
Alina said she still encounters impatience and insensitivity on occasion but said she is better equipped to deal with it. She is now a volunteer at Our Time and a Camp Our Time counselor. She credits her stutter with making her a more compassionate person. In fact, Alina said that if she were offered a pill to make her stuttering vanish, she would probably decline.