Stuttering, or stammering, is typical for children between the ages of 2-6 years old as they are rapidly developing speech and language skills. However, these disfluencies can continue into adulthood and impact how the individual feels about talking and relating to others. As a result, many parents question when they should be concerned and seek help.  Below are some signs and guidelines to help parents tease out when help might be needed for their child.
Enablr Therapy has a team of talented speech language pathologists who can evaluate and treat children and adults for speech and fluency issues.

Typical Developmental Stuttering:

  • Between 18 months and 3 years, normal disfluency tends to be seen through repetition of sounds, syllables, and words, especially at the start of a sentence. These are typically about once every ten sentences.

  • After 3 years old, the child is less likely to repeat sounds but tends to repeat words (I want, I want my ball). The child may sometimes switch topics mid-sentence, changing and leaving sentences unfinished.

  • Disfluency increases when the child is tired, excited, upset, rushed or being questioned.

  • The disfluency may increase for a few days to weeks and then improve, coming and going from time to time.

  • The child tends not to notice or react to their disfluency.

Signs that Stuttering Might be a Concern:

  • Stuttering persists for more than 6 months.

  • The child starts to stutter after 3 ½ years old.

  • There is a family history of stuttering.

  • Stuttering becomes more frequent or gets worse over time.

  • Problems starting a word, phrase or sentence.

  • Prolonging a sound in a word or phrase- “Mmmmmmommy.”

  • Repeating a sound, syllable, or word, typically more than 1-2 times- “C-c-c-can, I have a c-c-c-c-cookie.”

  • Pauses or blocks for certain syllables or words or pauses within a word (broken words)- “I want (pause) milk.”

  • May have associated motor movements of blinking eyes, termoring lips or jaw, jerking head, clenching fists, or facial tics when talking.

  • The individual has anxiety about their talking.

  • The difficulties impact effective communication and speech becomes strained.

Tips to Help a Child Who Stutters:

  • Do not correct or be critical of the child’s speech.

  • Listen to the child, maintain eye contact, and interact without showing impatience or frustration.

  • Create opportunities for talking that are relaxed and fun.

  • Model slow, relaxed speech to help the child learn to slow down their speech.

  • Do not pressure the child to verbally interact with others when stuttering becomes a problem. Encourage activities and interactions that don’t involve a lot of talking.

If you have concerns about your child’s speech, contact us to see if speech therapy might be beneficial.

Contact us to learn more or browse our roster of therapists to book directly!

About Enablr Therapy
Enablr Therapy offers speech, occupational, and physical therapy to people of all ages and abilities through our school-based therapy services as well as cash-based services for individual clients. Individual clients can be seen through convenient online sessions in many states across the country.