Many young kids go through a stage between the ages of 2 and 5 when they stutter, repeating certain syllables, words or phrases, prolonging them, or stopping, making no sound except for certain sounds and syllables. In many cases, stuttering usually goes away on its own by the age of 5. While there is no cure for stuttering, speech therapy can be an effective way for your child to overcome it.
Early Signs of Stuttering
The first signs of stuttering tend to appear between the ages of 18 months to 24 months when there is a burst of vocabulary and children are starting to put words together to form sentences. A child may stutter for a few weeks or several months. Most will stop by the age of 5 without any need for intervention. Stuttering usually drops to very low levels when the child enters elementary school and starts sharpening their communication skills.
When should I seek a speech pathologist for my child’s stuttering?
If your child is 5 years old and still stuttering, seek a speech pathologist. Other warning signs that you may need the help of a speech pathologist include:
- repetitions of whole words and phrases become excessive and consistent
- sound and syllable repetitions start happening more often
- there is an increase in the prolongations of words
- speech starts to be especially difficult or strained
- you notice increased facial tension or tightness in the speech muscles
- you notice vocal tension resulting in rising pitch or loudness
- your child tries to avoid situations that require talking
- your child changes a word for fear of stuttering
- your child has facial or body movements along with the stuttering
- you have other concerns about your child's speech
It is important that parents realize that many children will often draw attention to a child with a stuttering problem and often tease them. Talk to your child’s teacher for help with this as you seek out speech therapy.