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Stuttering is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is interrupted by repetitions and/or prolongations of sounds, syllables, words and phrases.

  • Repetitions – People who stutter might repeat sounds (s-s-s-sit) and/or words (sit-sit-sit) and/or phrases (I sit-I sit-I sit) and/or complete thoughts (I will sit down-I will sit down-I will sit down)
  • Prolongations – A prolongation involves a sound being dragged out for an extended period of time (e.g. I sssssssit)
  • Blocks – A block is a long pause where the speaker has difficulty getting a word out (e.g. I (pause) sit)

People who stutter often have physical characteristics in their faces/bodies when they stutter. For example, a person who stutters might close their eyes tightly, move their hands, move their legs or even stand up while in a stuttering moment.

Stuttering can be worse during certain times of day or can be “triggered” by a big life event. For example, some people might stutter more when they are stressed and others might stutter more when they are tired. Children might stutter more when they go back to school after the summer.

Risk factors

Some people are more at risk for persistent stuttering than others. The following are some risk factors for persistent stuttering:

  • Family history of stuttering
  • Males
  • Speech/language difficulties
  • Time since onset of stuttering is >12 months
  • Age of onset of stuttering is >3 years 6 months

When to seek services?

Seek help for your child’s stuttering if:

  • Your child has stuttered for 6-12 months
  • Your child’s stutter worsens
  • There is a family history of stuttering
  • Your child has another speech/language disorder

Talk to a speech language therapist about stuttering

When children stutter it can often be quite challenging for them to get their messages across. As a result, talking might be very stressful for them. Stuttering can often lead to lowered self esteem and self confidence and ultimately bullying by peers.

At Express Yourself speech, we will teach your child strategies and provide them with tools to help reduce stuttering moments and reduce the stress and anxiety that stuttering might cause. With the involvement of caregivers and home practice, children who stutter will gain the self-esteem required to feel comfortable and confident with speaking.