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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

PARENT QUESTION: What to do if my toddler stutters?

My daughter is two and half and is beginning to stutter. Up until now, she has been a good talker. But when she gets excited, we’ve noticed she stutters, like her brain can’t catch up to her mouth. We are not sure how to handle this and wonder if we should seek help.

It is common for kids to stutter between the ages of two and three. The key is to determine whether your daughter has what is called, “transient dysfluency of childhood” which typically goes away, or to determine if she is a true stutterer. The majority of kids who begin to stutter will stop because they are not true stutterers. When they get excited, they can be tired, angry, or upset and can’t quite get the words out right away. They do more fumbling over words rather than having an actual problem getting the words out. This is due to the rapid development a child experiences in her verbal abilities at this age. And as you put it, her brain doesn’t keep up with the pace of her talking.

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Stuttering tends to run in families and affects more boys than girls. Current thinking is that it is a speech disorder that has genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers. It is not a physical or psychological disorder, but considered a developmental disorder. However, if your child is a stutterer, the earlier you treat, the better. So talk to your pediatrician and engage a speech therapist. A speech therapist can be very helpful in term of treating your child and helping you respond in a relaxed and supportive way.

Pay attention to whether or not the stuttering bothers or upsets your daughter. Also notice if the stuttering occurs in situations other than when she is excited or anxious. Does her pitch change and is she struggling to get words out? Are her repetitions long and frequent? Does she block words and sounds? Does she avoid saying difficult words? These are just a few observations to make. The Stuttering Foundation of America has materials that can help you determine if you need help or you can consult a speech-language pathologist for an evaluation. To find a speech-language pathologist, call your school and ask for help. Public schools provide free speech therapy to children as young as three years of age.

 

Resource:

Stuttering Foundation of America

P.O. Box 11749
Memphis, TN 38111-0749

800.992.9392

 

  • Linda Mintle

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Wendy

    Hi my daughter was an early talker, and around two year old, I noticed her stammering. I have a brother with a stammer so the hereditary factor was there so I contacted my health visitor, who involved a speech therapist. As she was so young she would watch her play and give advice on helping. I was advised to
    Allow her to interrupt and let her speak whenever she needed to say anything. To speak slowly myself, and not to make her aware of her stammer as this would make it worse. She used to find ways of coping herself at one time she would be slamming her hand down to get a word out, this stopped after a while. I worried a lot and the therapist thought I was the one needing help as my daughter seemed to be coping, deep down I was worried. I thought she may be alienated at school or made fun of.
    When she started nursery although she was shy she made friends and was accepted just as she was, other kids had problems such as a girl who didn’t talk a boy with autism. I soon realised how wonderful children are at understanding each other and not judging each other. She talked about it a few times as she grew older if she was struggling with it. My daughter is now 18 years old, and throughout the years she has made wonderful friends, and gained lots of confidence. She still occasionally does stammer when anxious ill or tired. But it’s just part of her like her eye or hair colour, and I’m proud of her she’s done so well. I Hope all goes well with your daughter.

  • Pingback: PARENT QUESTION: What to do if my toddler stutters? | Dr. Linda Mintle

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