Are you wondering what causes stuttering, and how you can help your child stutter less?

When you have a child that is stuttering, it can be difficult to know what steps to take to help them.  We have compiled answers to some common questions about stuttering and how you can help your child reduce stuttering.

What Causes Stuttering?

There is still some debate about the causes of developmental dysfluency, and there is no known single cause. Although, here are some potential risk factors, that could be contributing, Family history, child development, neurophysiology, and family dynamics. Essentially, though, stuttering is a sign of poor coordination between thinking and speaking at the same time. Only about 10% of preschoolers experience a speech and/or language delay severe enough to require a referral and assessment by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Keep reading to find out more ways to help your child improve their flow of speech.

How can you help your child at home to reduce stuttering?

For preschool children, the most common practice includes educating parents and caregivers on how to facilitate a fluent speaking environment. Below are 6 tips that you can do at home to reduce conversational demands on a child who is stuttering. These tips could be beneficial in reducing the amount of stuttering.

1. Reduce your Rate of Speech – Speaking slowly provides a positive model for your child. 

2. Do Not Interrupt – Allowing your child the opportunity to speak, even when stuttering, helps promote confidence in their own speech and can help them to overcome a stutter.

3. Limit Questions – Asking questions is normal but try to avoid asking one after another. Instead, comment on what your child has said and wait for a response.

4. Listen with Intent – When your child is speaking, listen to what they are saying, NOT how they are saying it.

5. Acknowledge Difficult Speech – When your child stumbles on complicated words, acknowledge that you too have difficulty saying some words, and that some words are just hard to pronounce.

6. Set Aside Special Talk Times – Giving your child your undivided attention to talk and practice your own slow speech can help boost their confidence. As little as five minutes with no TV, phones, or tablets can make a difference. 

Is is Common for my child to be stuttering?

About 85% of children between the ages of 2 and 6 experience some form of “bumpy” speech, or developmental dysfluency. Even adults experience some form of dysfluency – about 2% to 4% of normal speech includes some kind of interruption. Boys are 4 times more likely to stutter, and a child with a family history of stuttering is more likely to stutter than those who don’t. 

What is Stuttering?

Stuttering, or dysfluency, is a disturbance in the normal fluency of speech. These disturbances can include repetitions of sounds and syllables at the beginning of words, as well as repetitions of whole words and phrases. Other types of stuttering include sound prolongations, pauses within and between words, revisions of sentences, and interjections (words like “uh” and “um”).

If my Child is stuttering, when should I consult a speech language pathologist?

Developmental dysfluency is common in children. However, parents should look out for other signs and behaviors that occur alongside the repetitions, prolongations, revisions, and pauses associated with stuttering. Such behaviors include avoidance of speaking situations, becoming upset when speaking, facial and neck muscles tensing, and speaking with rises in pitch or loudness. Parents who have concerns about their child’s fluency should pay attention to the types of dysfluencies a child exhibits, as well as the length and frequency of the dysfluencies. This will help you determine whether your child needs to start speech therapy or not.

At Child Language and Developmental Speech, we can help you determine why your child is stuttering, and the next steps to creating a positive environment to reduce stuttering. Please contact us today or complete this form to get started. 704-845-0561