Early Childhood Stuttering: Should you be concerned?

Many toddlers and young children will stutter for a short period of time. In most cases, the stuttering will stop and is not a great cause for concern. Data obtained by The Stuttering Research Project at the University of Illinois indicated that 76% of pre-school aged children who exhibited stuttering recovered completely without treatment. Girls were more likely than boys to spontaneously recover from stuttering and did so at earlier ages.

Interestingly, the severity of a child’s stuttering is not a good predictor of the likelihood of developing into a chronic problem. In other words, pre-school children who demonstrated severe stuttering were just as likely to spontaneously recover as those with minimal stuttering. In spite of this, it is important to closely monitor all children who begin stuttering. Those who are likely to persist should be detected early and receive treatment. Hereditary factors are an important consideration when determining which children are likely to have chronic stuttering. If there is a family history, it is recommended to seek out a speech-language pathology services early on.

    Early signs of Stuttering (ages 2.5 – 3 years)

  • Struggles to say sounds or words
  • Repeats the first sounds of words – “d-d-d-d-dog” for “dog”
  • Pauses frequently while talking
  • Stretches sounds out – “f-f-f-f-f-fall” for “fall”
    Ways to Help

  • Give your child time to talk
  • Do not interrupt your child when he or she is speaking
  • Consult with a Speech-Language Pathologist if you are concerned

References

ASHA Identify the Signs Campaign. (2013-2015). Source

Yairi, Ehud. (2000). Research in Early Childhood Stuttering. Source

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