Are you worried that your toddler is stuttering?  Many parents call us worried, reporting that their toddler has started to stutter.  They then ask if this is normal.
The first thing I tell parents is that some toddlers do stutter as they go through periods of language growth and are learning how to put words together into phrases and sentences.

Secondly, I review the chart below with parents.  This chart outlines the common differences between normal language development with normal “disfluency” and stuttering.

 

Normal DisfluencyStuttering
  • Normal disfluencies can occur between 1.5 – 5 years of age
  • Repeats  words or phrases once or twice (e.g. I-I-I want to play)
  • Uses words like “um”, “uh”, “er”
  • Disfluencies may come and go
  • Overall stuttering is less than 10% (e.g. 9 or fewer disfluencies per 100 words)
  • Child has little or no awareness of their disfluencies
  • Repeats sounds or words more than twice (e.g. b-b-b-bike) or has long ‘prolongations’ (e.g. mmmmmmom)
  • Visible tension or struggling seen on the face or body, or loss of eye contact
  • Child experiences a ‘block’, which is when the child cannot get the sound out for several seconds
  • More than 10% of words or syllables are stuttered
  • Child expresses concern about speech, gives up when talking, or avoids talking

 

Finally, I reassure parents that if they are still worried, they are welcome to bring their child in for a quick assessment.

 

By Stefanie Haws,

Speech-Language Pathologist at Simone Friedman Speech-Language Services