4 min read
First of all, all children go through a period of stuttering which is completely normal. This period lasts from age 2-5 and can vary in length.
When children stutter, you may see these common errors:
Stuttering can also be referred to as dysfluency, which is basically a fancy term for a disruption in the pattern of speech.
In some cases, stuttering can progress and continue past the age of 5. When this occurs, it’s important to see a speech-pathologist for treatment. Also, if your child is making facial grimaces, or making abnormal noises, like clicking their tongues, you should seek out an SLP sooner rather than later.
Doctors and researchers are not exactly sure what causes fluency disorders in kids. I can tell you as a seasoned therapist with fluency patients, that boys typically have a higher risk of stuttering. There is also a family component. Most (more than 75%) of the children who have been diagnosed on my caseload have an immediate family member that stuttered at some point in their life. In fact, “Kids who stutter are three times more likely to have a close family member who also stutters, or did” (kidshealth.com).
You may first see signs of stuttering in your child at around 18-24 months of age. At this time, their brains are expanding so rapidly that it’s hard to explain. They are playing with new vocabulary and learning how to formulate simple sentences. This may be frustrating to some members of your family, but try and be patient with your child during this critical period.
Some factors may indicate that your child is more at risk for stuttering. Knowing these factors will help you decide whether or not your child needs to see a speech therapist.
|Risk Factor||Elevated Risk|
|Family history of stuttering||A parent, sibling, or other family member who stutters|
|Age at onset||After age 3 1/2|
|Time since on set||Stuttering 6 – 12 months or longer|
|Other speech production concerns||Speech sound errors or trouble being understood|
|Language skills||Advanced, delayed, or disordered|
Children typically stutter for a few weeks or months and then stop on their own. Children who stop before the age of 5 do not need intervention.
As mentioned previously, if your child’s stuttering gets worse, changes in frequency, or body movements are accompanied with the stutter, then get help before age 3.
(Information from Kids Health)
If you see any of the following signs/symptoms in your child, it’s important to talk to your child’s pediatrician and seek out a speech-language pathologist as soon as you can.
Also talk to the therapist if:
I always give my parents suggestions and tips to work with their child who stutters. One important thing to remember is not to tell your child to slow down. That doesn’t help and, in fact, only makes them feel more tense and self conscious. Here are some tips to deal with dysfluency until you can get in to see a therapist:
In addition to these tips, download Speechblubs app and work on some of the communication activities that are highlighted!
I’d also recommend checking out the website Stuttering Help. They have a ton of information for kids of all ages, as well as parents!
Leave them in the comments or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!