Isn’t stuttering a normal part of development that my child will grow out of?
The most important thing to say here, is the stuttering is NEVER a normal or natural part of speech development. It is classified as a speech disorder.
Stuttering is a relatively common childhood speech problem that occurs during the early preschool years, usually starting between the ages of 2 and 3. Some children can start stuttering later, however it generally starts before the school years. It can present in a variety of different ways and is sometimes not identified by parents and caregivers because of this. Stuttering can be characterised by the following*:
Part word repetitions “ C C C Can I go to the shop?”
Whole word repetitions “ Can Can Can I go to the shop?”
Phrase repetitions “Can I go, Can I go, Can I go to the shop?”
Prolongations “Caaaaan I go to the shop”
Blocks “(pause)…..Can I go to the shop”
Sometimes when stuttering becomes more severe it can be associated extra body movements such as facial twitching.
We know from research that some children may grow out of their stutter, however the likelihood of this happening may be no more than 10% within a year after they start. There are some studies that indicate that two thirds to three quarters of children will recover at some later time. Our dilemma is, at the moment the research in inconclusive as to which children who start to stutter are likely to recover.
Given that we know that the most effective time to treat stuttering is in the preschool years, at least a year before starting school, and given what we know about the negative life outcomes of people who stutter, waiting beyond the preschool years to treat it in the hope that our child may recover is discouraged.
At Eastside Speech we use the Lidcombe Program to treat children’s stuttering. All of our therapists are trained and experienced in this program. For more information about our Stuttering Therapy for Children get in touch with one of our Speech Pathologists today on 02 9313 8980.
Yairi,E., & Ambrose,N.G (1999). Early childhood stuttering 1. Persistence and recovery rates. Journal of Speech , Language & Hearing Research, 42, 1097-1112.
Reilly,S. et.al. (2009) Natural History of stuttering to 4 years of Age, a prospective community based study. Pediatrics. 132 , 460-467
Jones et.al. (2005) Randomised control trial of the Lidcombe Program of early stuttering intervention. British Medical Journal, 331, 659-663