Does your child struggle with a stutter? Are you wondering when you should reach out to a professional for help?


Stuttering is a disorder affecting the forward flow of speech. It can be characterized by repetitions (e.g., c-c-can…, why-why-why not?), prolongations (e.g., sssssso…), or blocks, in which the person affected is trying to produce a word or sound, but nothing comes out. According to The Stuttering Foundation, stuttering affects about 1% of the world’s population.

Stuttering typically starts in childhood and can affect both children and adults. Many children go through periods of “typical disfluency”, especially between 2-4 years old, or during the time that they are experiencing a burst in their language skills. Disfluencies are those breaks in the forward flow of speech, which can take the form of repetitions, prolongations, or blocks. Since this is fairly common in early childhood, parents often wonder, “How do I know if my child will grow out of this?” and “When should I seek professional help?”

Here are 4 factors to consider:

1. How long has the stuttering been going on? Children with “typical disfluencies” may have those disfluencies occur over the course of several weeks or a month or two. If the stuttering has been going on for several months or more, it may be time to consider further evaluation.
3. Is the child aware of or frustrated by the stuttering? Children may notice that something is different about their speech, or that it is taking them longer to get out what they want to say. That is okay. You can help by listening patiently without rushing them or giving them additional cues for what to do or how to say something. However, if the child appears frustrated or upset by their stuttering, or if they stop saying what they were trying to say because they are stuttering or cannot get it out, further evaluation might be needed.
2. What types of disfluencies are happening? If the child is repeating a word or sound once or twice and then moving on through the rest of the word/phrase (e.g., C-c-can I have a snack?), this may be more typical. If the child repeats the word or sound several times or more, if they stretch the word or sound out, get blocked on it, or demonstrate facial tension or struggle when trying to say the word or sound, this may warrant further evaluatio
4. Are there any other risk factors? There are several other factors to consider that might make it less likely for a child to grow out of stuttering. Stuttering has a genetic component, so if there is a family history of stuttering, it is more likely that the child will continue to stutter. Stuttering is more common in males than females. Children with speech articulation concerns are at greater risk for continued stuttering.

If one or more of these factors indicates a need for further evaluation, you can contact Emerge Pediatric Therapy to learn more about our services, fill out our initial inquiry form! The good news is that, given effective and timely treatment, most children who stutter are able to overcome their stuttering.

Written by: Kelly Goad, MA, CCC-SLP