I get this question very often in my private practice. Many parents have observed in their young children (birth to age 5) a difficulty in forming fully fluent sentences. The task of forming coherent, perfectly articulated, and fluent language is a tall task and one that can take the whole of childhood to master. So, in many cases, stuttering in children or a disruption in their fluent speech is perfectly normal and not something that would require the attention of a speech therapist. Because stuttering is by far the most common type of speech dysfluency, I will focus today’s post on stuttering. However, there are several factors that parents should consider when faced with speech dysfluencies. These factors can very quickly give you, the parent, an indication of whether you would need to consult with a local speech therapist.
A child who stutters often sees the world from a different perspective once he becomes aware of his atypical speech. In school, he may go out of his way to avoid giving oral presentations or raising his hand to answer a question. At birthday parties, he might resist talking to other children. Children who stutter also might avoid talking on the phone. Parents can help their child become more comfortable with phone calls by teaching them how to prepare for a call, how to stay relaxed during it, and how to learn from the experience. Becoming more comfortable with using a phone while the child is young can help him succeed later in life.