Does your child…
Repeat sounds eg “sssssock”
Repeat words eg. “He he he went home.
Hesitate before speaking and appear to not be able to say words?
Prolong sounds eg”da-a-addy”
Stuttering (dysfluency) is a disorder of the rhythm of speech. The disorder causes problems in the control and coordination of speech which results in sound repetitions (“bbbbaby”), prolongations (“Da-a-a-dy”) or blocks (silence as the person tries to speak).
Stuttering is not caused by an emotional disorder, trauma, anxiety or reduced intelligence. Most children before the age of five go through a period of normal dysfluency. Normal childhood dysfluencies are usually characterised more by word or phrase repetitions (eg “Me-me went home.”or revisions of speech (eg “Me-we went home.”) as the child’s linguistic complexity of language increases. This is usually a transient period which should resolve within six months or so.
Stuttering in its true form is nearly always evident before the age of five years and if not treated may become more severe over the years as well as affect the desire of the older child or adult to communicate in different situations. If stuttering in the young child lasts for longer than 6 months referral to a speech pathologist is recommended. A decision to intervene is usually based on the time since onset, consistency and severity of stuttering, parental, child’s concerns and family history of stuttering.
Stuttering is more prevalent in males. Early assessment by a speech pathologist is recommended if stuttering is suspected as treatment is often more rapid and more effective with young children soon after the stuttering begins.