Midwestern University Clinics Pediatric Speech Language Therapy Session

Is Your Child Stuttering?

October 20, 2017

By Jennifer Buckler M.S., CCC-SLP

As children develop language skills between two and five years of age, they might experience a period of normal disfluency. Normal disfluency might mean children repeat whole words or syllables such as, “Can…can…can I go?” They may also insert fillers such as “um” while speaking. Disfluencies can fluctuate as children learn new ways of using language, and will typically resolve on their own over time.

Here are some things you can do to help a child who is experiencing disfluencies:

  • Use a slow and relaxed speaking rate when talking to your child.
  • Give your child time to speak and offer your undivided attention.
  • Reassure your child that you are listening by showing acceptance with your body posture and facial expressions.
  • Ask fewer questions and place less demand on your child for speaking performance.
  • Focus on giving your child time to talk without interrupting.
  • Tell your child it’s okay to have trouble talking sometimes.
  • Speak in an unhurried manner and pause often when you are responding to your child’s questions.
  • Focus on all the wonderful things your child does that are unrelated to speaking.

Consult a professional if you have questions about your child’s fluency or if it seems that your child is avoiding talking, struggling to speak, or making sounds that are blocked or prolonged (such as “ssssssssorry”). A speech-language pathologist can conduct an assessment to identify whether your child is experiencing typical disfluencies or true stuttering and determine whether treatment is indicated.

Additional resources for children, teens, educators, and parents are available from The Stuttering Foundation –http://www.stutteringhelp.org/.

The information contained in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding any possible medical condition.

Related Services