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National Stuttering Day

October 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day.

What is stuttering? Stuttering is a communication disorder that includes repetitions of sounds, syllables or words (li-li-like this); prolongations (l____ike this); or blocking (no airflow or sound for several seconds) when talking.  In more severe cases there may also be unusual facial or body movements.

How many people stutter? More than 68 million people worldwide stutter, which is about 1% of the population. Four times as many males as females are affected.

How many children stutter? Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more between the ages of 2 -6 years.  Three-quarters of those will recover by late childhood, leaving about 1% with a long-term problem. The best prevention tool is early intervention.

When to refer? A child who is stuttering should be referred when:

What to do while you wait for services:  First of all, don’t panic. Remember that 80% of all children go through a period of ‘normal dysfluency’ and recover. 

Respond to their message and not the stuttering.  If he is having a difficult time getting his words out, try to decrease the verbal demands.  Refer to a Speech-Language Pathologist.  

Resources: Lidcombe Stuttering Program: http://www.stuttering-answers.com/Stuttering-Toddler.html

The Stuttering Foundation:  http://www.stutteringhelp.org