Have you noticed your little one stuttering? First things first – don’t panic! It isn’t uncommon for young children to have developmental disfluencies like developmental stuttering in their speech. This could be word or phrase repetitions.
In fact, about 5% of all children are likely to be disfluent at some point in their development. The NIDCD (2016) states that “Most children outgrow stuttering. Approximately 75 percent of children recover from stuttering. For the remaining 25 percent who continue to stutter, stuttering can persist as a lifelong communication disorder.” This normally occurs between the ages of 2 ½ and 5. It is also very typical for a child to flip-flop between periods of fluency and disfluency. Sometimes, this can occur for no reason, but oftentimes it’s simply because a child is excited, tired, or feels rushed to speak.
Most disfluencies go away on their own after a short period of time. But for others, disfluencies may continue or even become more obvious. This chart explains both typical and atypical stuttering characteristics in young children.
What TO DO if your child is stuttering:
- Speak to your child in an unhurried way.
- Decrease the number of questions you ask your child.
- Listen to your child as they talk and give them your undivided attention.
- Take turns talking. Don’t have multiple people talk at the same time.
What NOT TO DO if your child is stuttering:
- Don’t tell your child to “slow down” or “relax”.
- Don’t speak for your child or finish their sentences.
- Don’t rush your child along when they are trying to talk.
- Don’t make your child feel bad for stuttering.
If your child seems to be truly stuttering and you are concerned we always recommend consulting with your pediatrician and a speech-language pathologist. An ASHA certified https://find.asha.org/pro#f:@Provider=[Speech-Language%20Pathologist] speech-language pathologist can conduct a stuttering assessment. This assessment will determine the severity of your child’s stuttering and allow a treatment plan to be made specifically for your child. Treatment consists of counseling, educating and teaching your child techniques that should allow them to communicate with more ease.
Stuttering. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/stuttering. Accessed May 1. 2020.
Stuttering. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering.htm. Accessed May 1. 2020.
7 tips for talking with your child. Stuttering Foundation of America. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/7-tips-talking-your-child-0. Accessed July 3, 2017.