Does Your Child Have a Stuttering Problem?

Written by on August 10, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page


My five year old son’s brain often works faster than his mouth and the result is that he finds himself stumbling over words.  Sometimes he seems like he’s really struggling to get out what he wants to say, which has recently led me to wonder….does he have or is he developing a stuttering problem?

So, like all modern day parents, the first thing I did was reach out to the immediate response  of the internet (how did our parents manage getting through all of our ailments etc. without Google or Yahoo or Wikipedia???)

Here is what turned up:

1)  It if perfectly natural for children under the age of 5 to “get stuck” on their words. They will often repeat the same syllable or the entire word, trying to get out their sentence.

2)  Children tend to sputter their words when they are tired, upset or excited, as do adults; this is totaly normal and not necessarily the sign of an oncoming problem.

3)  A true stutter tends to present itself as a child or adult getting stuck on the first letter or sound in a word like sh-sh-sh-shoes or c-c-c-c-cat, but a true stutter can also be soundless, like if your child opens their mouth to speak but no words manage to escape.

4)  A further sign of a true stutter is the tensing of your child’s mouth or jaw, and movements of frustration such as fist clenching that show your child is having actual physical difficulty getting their words out.

What can you do if you think your child has a true stutter?

It’s never too early to deal with the issue, even if your child is very young. First step would be to bring up your concern with your family doctor, nurse, or even their teacher and they can likely direct you to a speech therapist. You can also look up direct contact information for local Stuttering Foundations and Agencies.

Also, whether it’s a true stutter or just your child excitedly fumbling over their words, calmness is key.  Do not ridicule your child, hurry them or get angry with them over their speech as this will only make the problem worse.

Do not turn away from them, tell them to slow down, or do anything that increases the pressure on them to speak.  I have often told my son to, “take a deep breath, and take his time,” but now I know that saying that does nothing to actually help him.  The #1 thing you can and should do is simply calm and slow down your own speech, as this is all they need to make them feel more at ease.

In some cases not all children will be able to completely eliminate their stuttering but getting speech therapy may give them some tools to help them minimize it and manage it.

Given what I’ve read I don’t believe that my son has a true stuttering problem however I am now more aware of how on those occasions where I have been in a hurry and have rushed him to “spit it out” that it has done absolutely nothing….except on a couple of occasions caused him to literally spit.




About the Author

Jenessa Blanchet

I am a working mother of two, with a passion for writing and lending a literary helping hand to fellow parents and family enthusiasts. Born and raised on the west coast, I have a love of the outdoors; sailing, beaching and all things wonderful including constantly trying to keep a handle on family life. View all posts on Family Life.