As parents, it can be worrisome when little ones begin stuttering over their words in their early years. It can be difficult to know if and when to worry about a child’s stuttering. Read on to learn more about the different types of stuttering and their causes. As well as when to become concerned.
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Stuttering is a speech problem where the normal flow of speech is disrupted. Stuttering is a form of dysfluency and according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there are several types of stuttering.
- Developmental stuttering. This is the most common type of stuttering in children. It usually happens when a child is between ages 2 and 5. It may happen when a child’s speech and language development lags behind what they need or want to say.
- Neurogenic stuttering. Neurogenic stuttering may happen after a stroke or brain injury. It happens when there are signal problems between the brain and nerves and muscles involved in speech.
- Psychogenic stuttering. Psychogenic stuttering is not common. It may happen after emotional trauma.
Many children (about 5%) experience disfluency between the ages 2 ½ and 5. It is during this time their vocabulary is growing rapidly and they are starting to put words together to form sentences. While most disfluency resolves on its own, some children may need additional support.
Although the exact cause is unknown there are factors that increase the likelihood.
- Family history is the most significant predictor of whether a child is likely to stutter.
- Gender young boys are twice as likely as young girls to stutter, and elementary school-age boys are 3 to 4 times more likely to stutter than girls.
- Age of onset children that start having difficulties at age 4 are more likely to have a persistent stutter than those who begin stuttering at a younger age.
- Co-existing speech and/or language disorders increase the likelihood a child may stutter.
If a child is stuttering, no matter the age it is always best to get them evaluated by a speech therapist. A parent or guardian can start with the child’s primary care doctor first in order to get a referral. Early intervention may lead to better outcomes, the Stuttering Foundation offers free resources, services, and support.