When to be concerned about "stuttering"

When to be concerned about “stuttering”

Between the ages of two and six, almost all children will begin to repeat sounds, syllables and whole words when they are speaking.  This is not stuttering but rather, normal non-fluent duplications in speech.  The amount of repetition will vary from child to child and from situation to situation.  It may last from several weeks to several months.  It may disappear for a time and then re-appear later.  Eventually it will probably disappear altogether.  Patience and acceptance of the child’s speech is extremely important during these times.


How do you respond?

  • Concentrate on listening to what the child is saying, not how he is saying it. 
  • Try not to visibly react to the child’s repetitions.
  • Do not call attention to the repetitions.  Do not tell him to slow down, think about    what he is saying, or try it again.
  • Do not finish the child’s sentence for him.


When do you become more concerned and seek an evaluation?

  • If you notice that the child is aware of the repetitions.  He may become frustrated or even say something like, “I can’t talk.”
  • If you notice additional, physical symptoms such as facial grimaces, arm movements, fluttering of the eyes, etc.
  • If the child has demonstrated these dysfluencies without periods of fluent speech for an extended period of time.


Information provided in part by Mary Brooks and Deedra Engmann h&h enterprises

For more information about stuttering, visit 
"The Stuttering Foundation"at http://www.stutteringhelp.org