What is the difference between typical disfluencies and stuttering?
How do I know it is not "true" stuttering?
What causes stuttering?
My child's playmate stutters. Will my child learn to stutter too?
My grandfather stuttered. Is it inherited?
Could an upsetting event in our lives have caused this?
Is this my fault as a parent?
What can I do at home to help my child?
Maybe my child will just grow out of it.
Links to other information
by Melanie Potock, M.A., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Pediatric Rehabilitation Department
Boulder Community Hospital's Mapleton Center
Many young children between the ages of 1 1/2 and 5 have periodic speech disfluencies. Disfluencies are disruptions in the smooth flow of single words, phrases, or conversational speech. As children learn to negotiate the complexities of the English language, they may appear to have trouble speaking smoothly.
They may repeat syllables or whole words once or twice, such as "ba-ba-ball." They may hesitate or fill in the pauses with markers, such as "uh," "um," or "well." Sometimes, these disfluencies come and go for weeks or months at a time. These disfluencies can be part of normal language development, or they may be early signs that a child has a predisposition for stuttering.
Disfluencies are interruptions in the smooth flow of single words, phrases, or conversational speech. True stuttering impacts not only the flow of words, but also has specific behaviors associated with the disruption in flow. Not all of the behaviors are present for every child. Some of the behaviors to watch for are:
Consistent disturbance in speech production
Awareness of his/her own difficulty speaking as evidenced by the following reactions to the disruptions in flow
If your child exhibits one or more of the behaviors noted above, he/she might be developing a true stuttering problem. If parents have any concerns about their child's speech fluency, the first person to consult is their child's doctor. The doctor may refer the child to be evaluated by a certified speech language pathologist who specializes in fluency disorders.
Researchers vary on their opinion of what causes stuttering. However, most researchers agree that the following factors are associated with increases in normal disfluencies:
Although this is a common myth, stuttering is not contagious. However, a child can be a positive influence on his/her friend's speech if the child is aware of some of the ways that he/she can help. (Please refer to "What can I do at home to help my child.")
Researchers do not know if stuttering is an inherited trait. It is true that stuttering seems to run in some families, but a specific gene for stuttering has not been identified. Family studies show that many stutterers have a predisposition for stuttering, but it is unclear what physical markers exist that may prove inheritance. In twin studies, stuttering occurs more often in identical twin pairs than in fraternal twin pairs. Again, it appears from the twin studies that stuttering is inherited, but the inherited physical marker is unclear.
Emotional stress may aggravate stuttering, but it is not considered to be a cause. Children who may be vulnerable to stuttering will often become more disfluent during stressful times.
Current research indicates that parents do not cause stuttering. However, you can play an important role in facilitating normal fluency in your child's speech.
Parents should keep the following advice in mind when talking with their child:
Encourage family members, baby-sitters, and teachers to speak in a relaxed rate, to listen carefully to your child, to give appropriate eye contact, to respond positively to your child's comments, and to allow your child to finish his/her thoughts.
Many children who show signs of mild disfluencies do "grow out of it." However, because typical disfluencies may mimic early signs of stuttering, it is highly recommended that parents consult with a doctor. It is worth the peace of mind to know that 1.) your child's disfluencies are typical for his/her age and development, or 2.) your child's stuttering can be helped significantly through early intervention with a certified speech language pathologist.
For additional information on childhood stuttering, please contact the Stuttering Foundation of America, P.O. Box 11749, Memphis TN 38111-0749.
About The Author: Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP
Melanie Potock is a certified speech language pathologist and national feeding specialist. She is the co-author of the award winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater and the pediatrician-approved Baby Self-Feeding, which focuses on safe feeding practices when offering babies solids. Her advice has been shared in Parents Magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Fit Pregnancy, Huffington Post, PBS Parents.com and more. Her on-demand video course at www.ParentingintheKitchen.com has helped parents all over the world who struggle with picky eaters learn how to raise babies, toddler and older kids who love healthy food. She can be reached at www.mymunchbug.com.
Copyright 2012 Melanie Potock, M.A., CCC-SLP, All Rights Reserved
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
If you think that you are having a medical emergency,
call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!
And when in doubt, call your doctor NOW
or go to the closest emergency department.
By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither RemedyConnect nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any express or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.
RemedyConnect, Inc. has created this privacy statement in order to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website: http://www.remedyconnect.com.
Acquisition of Information through PMD
We do not acquire any more information about website visitors than is required by law or is otherwise necessary to provide a high level of service efficiently and securely. Our site's registration form requires users to give us contact information (e.g., their name and e-mail address) and demographic information (e.g., children's birth months, but not birth dates). We use customer contact information from the registration form to (1) send the user pertinent medical and parenting information and (2) allow your local health provider lists of who is registering on that provider's site as a parent/guardian, staff member, doctor, or visitor. Users may opt-out of receiving future mailings; see the choice/opt-out section below.
We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our Website. Your IP address is used to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information.
Demographic and profile data is also collected at our site. We may use this data to tailor the visitor's experience at our site, showing them content that we think they might be interested in, and displaying the content according to their preferences.
Our site may use order forms to allow users to request information, products, and services.
Your Doctor's Right to Privacy
We will respect your doctor's right to privacy. A doctor typically does not give his/her e-mail address to the parents/guardians of patients. We will not provide the e-mail addresses of doctor(s) in the local practice to users of their site without the doctor(s)' permission. Their site is restricted to use by whomever they wish, and they may deny access to their site to one or more prior users. In unusual cases, doctors may change their private site's access code and arrange for us to e-mail the new access code to approved users.
This site contains links to other sites. RemedyConnect.com is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Websites. See Disclaimers.
Disclosure to Third Parties
We will provide individually-identifiable information about website users to third parties only if we are compelled to do so by order of a duly-empowered governmental authority, we have the express permission of the visitor, or it is necessary to process transactions and provide you services from our affiliates: Live Agent Answering Service, Digital Answering Service, Medical Answering Service and Pediatric Answering Service.
Privacy and Our Business Partners
This site may make chat rooms, forums, message boards, and/or news groups available to its users. Please remember that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information.
This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. For further information regarding our security, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any concerns regarding the security of information, please do not provide any information to RemedyConnect, Inc. until you are comfortable with our security measures.
You may correct or update your User Registration information at any time, by visiting the User Registration section and providing your personal password that you set at registration. If need be, please email us at email@example.com.
Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving e-mail communications from our partners or us, except communications approved by your doctor's practice office. To so opt-out, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be removed as a user, please email us at the same address. If need be, you may mail requests to us at RemedyConnect, Inc., 9200 E. Mineral Avenue, Suite 100, Centennial, CO 80112. Our telephone number is 303-793-0703.
Contacting the Website
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Website, you can contact us by email at email@example.com or by mail at our address above.