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Health Information For Parents
Many young kids go through a stage between the ages of 2 and 5 when they stutter. This might make them:
Stuttering is a form of dysfluency (dis-FLOO-en-see), an interruption in the flow of speech.
In many cases, stuttering goes away on its own by age 5. In some kids, it goes on for longer. Effective treatments are available to help a child overcome it.
Doctors and scientists aren’t completely sure why some kids stutter. But most believe that a few things contribute to it, such as a problem with the way the brain’s messages interact with the muscles and body parts needed for speaking.
Many believe that stuttering may be genetic. Kids who stutter are three times more likely to have a close family member who also stutters, or did.
The first signs of stuttering tend to appear when a child is about 18–24 months old. At this age, there’s a burst in vocabulary and kids are starting to put words together to form sentences. To parents, the stuttering may be upsetting and frustrating, but it is natural for kids to do some stuttering at this stage. Be as patient with your child as possible.
A child may stutter for a few weeks or several months, and the stuttering may come and go. Most kids who begin stuttering before the age of 5 stop without any need for help such as speech or language therapy.
But if your child’s stuttering happens a lot, gets worse, or happens along with body or facial movements, seeing a speech-language therapist around age 3 is a good idea.
Usually, stuttering lets up when kids enter elementary school and start sharpening their communication skills. A school-age child who continues to stutter is likely aware of the problem and may be embarrassed by it. Classmates and friends may draw attention to it or even tease the child.
If this happens with your child, talk to the teacher, who can address this in the classroom with the kids. The teacher also might decrease the number of stressful speaking situations for your child until speech therapy begins.
If your child is 5 years old and still stuttering, talk to your doctor or a speech-language therapist. Check with a speech therapist if your child:
Also talk to the therapist if:
Most schools will offer testing and appropriate therapy if stuttering lasts for 6 months or more.
Try these steps to help your child:
Working with a certified speech-language pathologist can help a child with speech or language difficulties.
Knowing what’s “normal” and what’s not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.
Speech-language pathologists help kids with speech problems related to a cleft palate. Find out what they do.
What teachers should know about stuttering, and how to help students who stutter.
What teachers should know about students with speech impairments, and what teachers can do to help them succeed in school.
Communicating with a child is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding experiences for both parent and child. Learn how to connect with your 2- to 3-year-old.
Communicating with our kids is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of parenting. Learn how to connect with your 4- to 5-year-old.
Do you or does someone you know ever have a hard time getting words out? Get the whole story on stuttering and other speech problems in this article for kids.
You might visit a speech therapist if you’re having trouble speaking or understanding others. Find out more in this article for kids.
Do you know someone who stutters or has another speech disorder? Find out how speech disorders are treated, how you can help a friend or classmate cope, and lots more.
What teachers should know about speech and language impairments, and how to help students with impairments succeed in school.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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