Fluency Disorder – Stuttering

Stuttering is a motor speech disorder that causes a disruption to the smooth flow of speech. Stuttering in preschool children most commonly is characterized by the repetition of the sound, word or phrase. For example a sounds (c-c-car), or a word (and…and…and then). Stuttering can also be prolongations, which involves the extension of a sound in a word (fffffffffffffffish)

Stuttering can also be when your child tried to speak but no sound comes out. This is called a block. Parents often report that their child gets stuck on the words.

Stuttering is NOT caused by

  • Anxiety
  • Shyness
  • Copying someone’s speech (Imitation)
  • An emotional disorder

Stuttering can begin slowly or quickly.  Most children’s stuttering will fluctuate. Parents often report it get worse when they are tired or excited.  This is all a normal component of stuttering.

Some children who stutter will recover without any treatment or assistance, others require intensive treatment. Unfortunately it is difficult for Speech Pathologists to know which children will naturally recover or which children will require more intensive treatment. Our advice is to monitor the stutter for the first three months and if it continues consult a Speech Pathologist. Further if the stutter is causing your child distress we recommend contacting earlier.

Speech Pathologists are the only professional trained to assess and treat stutters. Stuttering in preschool children is treated using the Lidcombe program. It is recommended that anyone concerned about a stutter contact the Speech Pathologist so an individual assessment and treatment plan can be developed.

Stuttering treatment is simple, effective and enjoyable for parents and children. It is best treated in the preschool years, prior to school entry.

A Speech Pathologist may recommend monitoring stuttering in a young child or commencing treatment, depending on how long the child has been stuttering and the impact it is having on their communication, social interaction and family.