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Stuttering is a fluency disorder that affects the flow of speech. It is characterized by disruptions in the smooth and effortless production of sounds, syllables, or words. Children with stuttering may exhibit repetitions, prolongations, or blocks during speech, which can cause frustration and communication difficulties.

Girl in a classroom

Stuttering usually first appears between the ages of 2 and 6. Many children will go through a period of normal disfluency lasting less than 6 months. Stuttering that lasts longer than this may need treatment.

Recognizing stuttering in your child is crucial for early intervention. You may observe your child repeating sounds or whole words, such as "b-b-ball," prolonging sounds like "ssssnake," or experiencing moments of silence when they struggle to produce a word. They may exhibit tension or struggle in their facial muscles or show signs of frustration while attempting to communicate.

The causes of stuttering disorders are multi-factorial and can vary from case to case. While the exact underlying causes are not fully understood, research suggests a combination of genetic factors, neuro-physiological differences in the brain, and environmental influences. Stuttering can also be triggered or exacerbated by factors such as stress, anxiety, or environmental pressures.

When should you see a professional?

If you think your child stutters, getting help early can reduce the chances that they will continue stuttering long term. Reach out for a consult if any of the following are true:

  1. Your child's stuttering has lasted for 6-12 months or longer

  2. Your child starts to stutter late (after 3.5 years old)

  3. Your child is beginning to stutter more often

  4. Your child tenses up or struggles when talking

  5. Your child avoids talking or says it's too hard to talk

  6. There is a family history of stuttering

It is important to remember that success in speech therapy for stuttering is a journey that requires patience and support. As parents, you play a crucial role in creating a nurturing and understanding environment for your child. Encourage open communication, active listening, and provide opportunities for your child to practice their newly acquired techniques. Celebrate their achievements and focus on their overall communication abilities rather than solely on fluency.


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