Many children go through a stage between the ages of two and five when they stutter. For many children, it's simply part of learning to use language and putting words together to form sentences. It may come and go, and it may last for a few weeks or for a couple of years. Most children outgrow stuttering on their own without professional intervention. In some children, it continues longer. But effective treatments are available to help a child overcome it.parent and child

There are risk factors that can help predict whether fluency problems will continue for longer than a few months. 
 
  • Family history is the biggest predictor o f whether a child is likely to stutter. 
  • Gender. Young boys are twice as likely as young girls to stutter, and elementary school-age boys are three to four times more likely to stutter than girls. 
  • Age of onset. Children that start having difficulties at age four are more likely to have a persistent stutter than those who begin stuttering at a younger age. 
  • Co-existing speech and/or language disorders increase the likelihood a child may stutter.
Each child’s development is different. A child may have symptoms of stuttering that are part of his or her normal speech and language development. If the symptoms last for three to six months, he or she may have developmental stuttering. Symptoms of stuttering may vary throughout the day and in different situations. 

Your child’s symptoms may include:
 
  • Repeating sounds, syllables, or words, for example, repeating a sound as in W-W-W-What.
  • Prolonging sounds, for example, SSSSend.
  • Using interjections such as “um” or “like,” for example, I am going - um um like...
  • Talking slowly or with a lot of pauses.
  • Stopped or blocked speech; the mouth is open to speak, but nothing is said.
  • Being out of breath or nervous while talking.
  • Fast eye blinking or trembling or shaking lips when speaking.
  • Increased stuttering when tired, excited, or under stress.
  • Being afraid to talk.

There are a lot of things family members can do to help a child who stutters get beyond his or her problems with speaking:children
 
  • Try to provide a relaxed environment.
  • Set time aside to talk with your child.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you about fun and easy topics.
  • Don't be critical of your child's speech or insist on precise or correct speech
  • Don't interrupt your child while he or she is speaking.
  • Speak slowly; this may help him or her to also speak slowly.
  • Pay attention to your child when he or she speaks.
  • Wait for your child to say words or sentences without saying them for him or her.
  • Talk openly about the stuttering if the child brings up the subject.
Your child may need speech therapy to prevent stuttering from returning. He or she may also benefit from counseling or self-help groups. When assessing a young child, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) will try to determine if the child is likely to grow out of the stuttering behavior. An SLP will look at whether or not there is a family history of stuttering, if the behavior has lasted more than six months and if there are any other speech-language problems present.

While there is no cure for stuttering, therapies can help children manage the condition. For children, therapy is focused on improving speech fluency and developing positive attitudes toward communication. Early treatment of childhood stuttering may prevent it from becoming a lifelong problem.

The Speech-Language Institute of Salus University offers comprehensive evaluation services and treatment plans for stutteringContact us to learn more about how we personalize treatment plans for each client’s needs.