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March 19, 2019 | Pediatrics
As children develop language skills, they often exhibit what’s called a speech dysfluency, which is an interruption in the flow of speech. For example, Most kids from 18 months to 5 years old stumble over words, repeat certain syllables, stutter or make no sound for certain letters and syllables. These dysfluencies usually disappear with age.
So how do you know if your child’s speech dysfluency is a normal part of the growth and development process or if he or she is developing a stutter? Stuttering does more than just impact the flow of language and words; it also leads to certain behaviors that disrupt speech patterns. Every child is different, and not all have the same behavioral patterns, but some things to watch for include:
As with many other developmental conditions, there are a variety of factors that play into stuttering. Some of those include:
Stuttering is not contagious and isn’t something your child will develop if a playmate stutters. However, genetics do play a role—60 percent of stuttering kids also have a close family member with a stutter.
If your child is 5 or older and still stuttering, it’s time to seek professional help. Your doctor may refer your child to a professional speech therapist. Many schools also offer appropriate therapy and diagnostic testing if you have been concerned about the issue for more than six months.
As the doctor and speech therapist work with your child, it’s important that you help them succeed at home as well. For example:
If you are concerned about your child’s stutter, schedule an appointment with a doctor.
“Stuttering and the Young Child.” Advanced Pediatric Associates. https://advancedpediatricassociates.com/Parent-Resources/Pediatric-Health-Library/Medical-Conditions/Articles/Stuttering-and-the-Young-Child#1
“Stuttering.” Kids Health.
Seth Coynor, DO
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.