Stuttering

Stuttering is another name for disfluent or 'choppy' speech. Speaking patterns may include pauses, repetitions, additions, revisions, stretching of sounds/words/phrases, and silent blocks. Disfluencies often occur sporadically in preschool children during times of rapid language development and will usually fade over time. If disfluencies persist, it is important to have a speech-language pathologist evaluate the quantity and severity of disfluencies to determine if the child has a fluency disorder. 

 

What causes it?

Disfluent speech can be caused by a variety of factors - genetics, develomental features, and/or envrionmental factors. Every child's speaking patterns are unique.

How is it treated?

The method of treatment often depends on the age of the child and his/her specific language development. Disfluent speech can often be shaped into fluent speech with a combination of strategies which includes relaxed breathing, controlled rate, monitored speaking exercises, and practice outside the school setting.

What can I do at home?

Give your child your full attention when he or she is speaking.  Listen without interrupting or finishing his/her sentences.  Use a slow, relaxed manner yourself.   Take a few minutes each day to model relaxed speech during conversations with him/her.  Maintain good eye contact during any disfluencies. Foster a supportive speaking environment at home by trying to slow the pace of your home and reduce the level of excitement. Include all family members in an effort to promote fluency.

Resources 

National Stuttering Foundation - http://nsastutter.org

Stuttering Foundation - http://www.stutteringhelp.org