Updated: Dec 13, 2022
"Speech Fluency" refers to the way our words flow easily and naturally.
"Stuttering"(dysfluency) refers to speech disruptions, such as repetitions of sounds or syllables, prolongations of sounds, or periods during which speech production is ‘blocked’.
If your child stutters for longer than three months or at any time shows anxiety about his/her speech, contact a Speech-language Therapist.
What is Stuttering/Dysfluency?
Fluency refers to the way words flow easily and naturally.
Dysfluency (stuttering) refers to speech disruptions such as:
Repetitions: They repeat a sound (“p-p-p-please”), a syllable(“to-to-to-tomorrow”), or a word (“my-my-my-my name is”)
Prolongations: They stretch out a sound, eg, “ssssss- sometimes”
Blocks are periods during speech production with no sound coming out – the words seem to get stuck.
During a dysfluent moment, some children may make face or body movements such as:
Some dysfluent children will use a lot of extra filler words like ‘you’ and ‘ah’.
Stuttering is different for each child. It can vary depending on the situation, such as what the child wants to say, who they are talking to and how they are feeling.
Stuttering can gradually or suddenly change over time. Sometimes, a child may try to hide stuttering by avoiding talking. It is more common in boys than girls and can run in families.
Note – that the terms ‘stuttering’, ‘stammering’, and ‘dysfluency’ refer to the same thing.
When should I be concerned about my child's stuttering?
Many children go through a period of what is known as "normal non-fluency".
This often occurs when their language is going through a period of rapid development and they have a lot to say.
They are beginning to talk like an adult but are not quite ready to do so resulting in the repetition of some words and some hesitation and reformulation of what they are trying to say.
For most children, this type of ‘stuttering’ does not usually last longer than about three months.
When to refer a child who is stuttering?
The child has been stuttering for three or more months.
Family history of stuttering.
The child shows signs of struggle as s/he tries to get words out; eg, stamping feet, or grimacing.
The child shows signs of anxiety or frustration about speech.
The length of each ‘block’ is longer than just a fleeting moment.
What can I do to assist my child’s fluency at home?
Listen to what your child has to say. Show your child that you are interested in what they say, not how they say it.
Ask the adults in the family to slow down their speech.
Try not to ask the child too many questions and give your child time to answer.
Take turns talking.
Be sure your child has time to talk without interruption and that your child allows others to have their turn too.
Keep easy eye contact when you are talking to your child especially when they are dysfluent.
Do not interrupt the child or finish sentences for him/her.
Pause for a second before responding to allow your child to take his/her time talking.
Praise your child for fluent speech; eg, “That was great smooth talking!”, Praise your child for the things s/he does well to encourage self-confidence.
Try to arrange a special time together with your child; for example, at bedtime when s/he is relaxed.
Follow the child’s lead in play and conversation.
Speak more slowly yourself.
Discourage others from teasing or laughing at the child.
Be supportive if your child gets upset about their speech. You could say, “Talking is tricky sometimes when you’re still learning”.
Who should I talk to if I am concerned that my child may be stuttering?
It is always a good idea to consult a speech-language pathologist. They will help you identify if the child's stuttering is normal for his age or if he/she is in a non-fluency period. They will also guide you with the strategies and tips you can use at home to help with fluency.
If you are worried that your child is stammering/stuttering/dysfluent, you can schedule a consultation with our speech-language pathologist or WhatsApp us at +919644466635.
Sounderic provides online speech therapy sessions for children with stuttering/stammering or any fluency disorder. We would love to help you. Get in touch with us on WhatsApp at +919644466635 or schedule a consultation with us at https://www.sounderic.com/service-page/stuttering-fluency-disorder-therapy?referral=service_list_widget