Stuttering is a speech problem. The normal flow of speech is disrupted. A child who stutters repeats or prolongs sounds, syllables, or words. Stuttering is different from repeating words when learning to speak. Stuttering may make it difficult for a child to communicate with others.
There are several types of stuttering:
A child is more likely to stutter if he or she has:
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 3 to 6 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:
The symptoms of stuttering can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask you about your family history. He or she will also ask you about your child’s stuttering symptoms. The provider will usually suggest that your child see a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP). This specialist can diagnose and treat speech and language problems. The specialist will:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
There is no cure for stuttering. Early treatment can prevent stuttering from continuing into adulthood. Different techniques are used to teach your child skills that can help him or her speak without stuttering. For example, the SLP may teach your child to slow down speech and learn to breathe while speaking.
Complications of stuttering may include:
Here are tips to help your child manage stuttering:
Your child may need follow-up speech therapy to prevent stuttering from returning. He or she may also benefit from counseling or self-help groups.
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: