You’re thrilled that your child is beginning to communicate verbally with words, but you notice that they sometimes struggle to get them out. Called a stutter, this form of speech disfluency is quite common and affects 5%-10% of children in the United States at some point during their early years. The good news is that most children leave their stutter behind as they grow. For those who don’t, there’s much we can do to help them overcome this communication difficulty.
The team of speech therapy specialists here at Celebrations Speech Group has extensive experience helping kids who develop a stutter. Our goal is to address the issue as early as possible to help children communicate with ease.
Here’s a look at what you should know about stuttering, whether it’s a lifelong issue, and what we can do to help.
Stuttering by the numbers
As we mentioned, approximately 5-10 children will stutter as they develop their language skills. In most cases, the issue develops in children between the ages of two and six and boys outpace girls by 2-3 times.
There are two types of stuttering:
- Developmental —when kids are learning to talk
- Neurogenic — stuttering on the heels of brain trauma or stroke
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to focus on developmental stuttering, which is, far and away, the more common type of stuttering.
While the exact mechanism behind developmental stuttering is still unclear, the good news is that 75% of kids outgrow the problem, especially as they enter school and communicate more. For the remaining children, stuttering can become a lifelong issue, especially among boys as they are 3-4 times more likely to continue stuttering than girls.
How to determine when stuttering may be cause for concern
There are several rules of thumb when it comes to determining whether your child’s stutter may be problematic, including:
- Your child stutters for six months or more
- Your child develops a stutter after the age of three
- Your child’s stutter is accompanied by body or facial movements
- The stutter becomes more frequent
Again, these are just general guidelines and there are other indicators that you should be on the lookout for. For example, if you notice that your child starts to withdraw from speech or they often switch words after struggling with the first, this could be a sign of a growing problem.
Ultimately, you know your child best and if you notice a change in the way they communicate verbally, it’s always a good idea to come see us.
No two kids are alike, but we do have some great programs that help kids who stutter. As an example, singing, speaking in unison, and reading aloud are great tools for helping children to develop more fluid speech.
We also dive a little deeper through targeted speech, pronunciation, and breathing exercises that will give your child the tools they need to gain confidence in their speech.
If you have questions about your child’s speech and whether you should be concerned with their stutter, please contact our office in Brentwood, California.