Stuttering is the most commonly recognized speech impairment that affects approximately 3 million people with about 5% of all children between 2-5 being affected during their childhood.
It is more commonly seen in boys than girls and is best described as breaks in the flow of speech. These dysfluencies (breaks) are known as repetitions of sounds and words (my-my-my shoe), prolongations (mmmmy shoe), or blocks, which is the stopping of air that produces speech, so that no sounds come out.
When children are learning to speak it’s normal to see some of the behaviors mentioned before; however, they are not persistent and generally come and go up until age 5.
When To Be Concerned
While most kids recover from developmental stuttering in late childhood, there’s a small population that does not. You should consult a Speech Language Pathologist when:
- Stuttering lasts longer than 6 months.
- You notice any signs of tension when speaking, facial grimacing (frowning, twisting of mouth), or struggling behaviors (repeated eye blinking, tapping, stomping of feet).
- Your child begins to avoid speaking.
- More than half of their speech are moments of dysfluencies.
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