Stuttering is also called “disfluency.” This is a very typical stage of speech and language development for most children, and occurs most frequently between the ages of 2 ½ - 3 ½ years, when a child’s language is progressing from 2 word combinations to more complex sentences. This usually disappears within 6 months. Most children will move through this stage without difficulty, and only a few will need speech therapy. Research indicates that only 1% will go on to stutter as an adult.
When to be concerned:
You should see a speech language pathologist for advice if your child:
- Shows frustration, or struggles when speaking
- Shows facial grimaces or body tensions when trying to talk
- Stutters with a lot of tension and effort
- Avoids stuttering by changing words, or using extra sounds to get a word started
- Stutters on more than 10% of their speech
- Stutters for 6 months or longer
How to Talk to Your Child When They are Disfluent or Stuttering:
- Ignore it. Don’t comment, and be careful about your non-verbal reactions as you want to make sure your body and words send the message that you are listening and not upset or impatient
- When your child is having a “bad” day and is stuttering a lot, try to reduce the verbal demands on him. For example, instead of asking him to tell you about his day after school, sit and read a book together instead. Do a quiet activity that doesn’t require so much talking so he gets a “break” from talking disfluently.
The following two websites can also provide additional information and resources:
The Stuttering Foundation
The Stuttering Foundation provides free online resources, services and support to those who stutter and their families.
This website has been established to provide a quick reference guide to stuttering resources all around the world for parents seeking information about their stuttering toddler (2 -5 years) or stuttering child (6 - 12 years).
If you feel that Speech and Language Therapy would help your child, please feel free to contact the centre and/or make a referral.