Preschool parents…you did not cause your child to stutter.
Take a deep breath and read that over. You did not cause your child to stutter.
You are reading this because you are proactively searching for advice about your child’s speech and language development. Excellent! You have taken a step in the right direction toward helping your child during this tumultuous language learning stage of his/her life!
So why is your preschooler stuttering? Each child is different, but common contributing factors may be identified by a speech therapist who understands the many facets of stuttering. Identifying your child’s specific contributing factors can lead to a more family-centered and efficient approach to therapy, should it be recommended.
Your child may:
-have a family member who also stutters or stuttered in the past
-have a mildly to severely complicated birth history (i.e. prematurity)
-have another health or developmental diagnosis (i.e. Down Syndrome)
-have coordination difficulties
-have high standards for self (self or externally imposed)
-be extra sensitive
-have difficulty coping with changes
-have decreased attention
-have delayed receptive and expressive language skills
-have advanced receptive and expressive language skills
-have speech sound production errors
-be learning multiple languages
-have difficulty with behavior management
-have a rapid pace of life
-have a hard time getting a word in edge-wise with siblings
Not all of these factors will describe your child. There may be additional factors not listed. However, a solid evaluation can identify your child’s personal pieces of the puzzle.
My child’s pediatrician told me to wait it out. It’ll likely go away.
Yes, maybe. In fact, studies indicate that 85% of children who stutter during the early developmental stages will, in fact, lose the stutter. But we cannot forget about the 15% of children who do not recover as their language develops. There are red flags that help speech therapists identify a child who may be at a higher risk for stuttering beyond the language developing years of 0-6. Pediatricians are not always aware of these red flags-which vary depending on the child and the family dynamic. Additionally, studies have proven early intervention can contribute to overcoming a stutter at a very young age!! Whoop, whoop! Early intervention is usually a good idea for any speech and language complication!
How long should I wait before I contact a speech pathologist?
Generally, if your preschooler has been stuttering for greater than 6 months, it is worth a phone call to a speech pathologist. OR, if your worry is very high, stuttering runs in the family, the stutter changes/becomes more severe, your child gets frustrated, stops talking or changes his/her words, it does not matter how long your child has stuttered. It would be worth a phone call into a speech therapist.
At Stuttering and Speech Therapy Services, you are more than welcome to call with any questions or concerns about your child’s stutter. Even if an evaluation is not immediately recommended, you will have the peace of mind that there is a specialist who can answer your questions, get an idea about your child’s red flags, what you can do and if there is a need to continue beyond the initial phone consultation.