What is stuttering?

Eastside SpeechFAQs, Stuttering

child thinking

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.

Stuttering can start in a myriad of ways. It may present as a mild condition and gradually get worse, sometimes it can start seemingly overnight where a child wakes up one morning and is stuttering quite severely- or anything in between.

There is possibly at least a one in ten chance that someone may experience stuttering at least at some point. More boys are affected by stuttering than girls.

If you are concerned that your child might be stuttering, it is important that you have them reviewed by a speech pathologist, as stuttering is treated most effectively in the preschool years, at least a year before starting school.

*There isn’t an agreed definition, but it can be as broad as anything that affects someone’s fluency of speech

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. (1992). Onset of stuttering in preschool children: Selected factors. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 782–788.

1  Yairi, E. (1983). The onset of stuttering in two- and three-year-old children: A preliminary report. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 48, 171–177.