Toddler Stuttering? What is Stuttering & How to Stop Stuttering

CME WebsitesChild Development, Toddlers 12 - 36 Months

What is stuttering?

StutteringStuttering is a speech disorder that affects the normal flow of speech.  People who stutter often exhibit part-word repetitions (d-d-d-dog), whole-word repetitions (dog dog dog), breaks in speech, interjections (um, er), and/or prolongations of sounds (DDDog).  Stuttering is more common in males than females.  Individuals who have a family history of stuttering are at a higher risk. The true cause of stuttering is still unknown; however researchers have identified three genes which may be responsible for stuttering. Further research is needed.


My child just started stuttering, should I be concerned? 

During language development, children often exhibit a normal period of disfluency called developmental stuttering.  This often occurs when a child has gone through a period of rapid language growth.  Common characteristics of developmental stuttering include repetition of whole words, for example: dog, dog, dog; repetition of parts of words: ba, ba, banana; or interjections such as: um, er.  According to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) approximately 75% of preschoolers who stutter will eventually stop.


When should I be concerned?

Parents should pay attention to how long their child is stuttering.  Best practice indicates that a child should be evaluated if they have been stuttering for more than 6-months or if the child’s stuttering worsens.  A Speech-Language Pathologist can help you identify if treatment is needed.


What can I do if my child is stuttering? 

There are several different strategies that parents and families can use to help promote fluent speech:

–       Model a reduced rate of speech for your child

–       Allow plenty of wait time while your child is speaking and actively listen to what they are saying

–       Try not to interrupt your child when they are speaking; even if they stutter

–       Provide a relaxed environment for your child

–       Try not to respond negatively when your child does stutter

For more information, check out the following resources:


By Betsy Gilbert MA-CCC Speech-Language Pathologist