Stuttering (also called stammering) is the involuntary repetition of sounds, syllables and words, often at the beginning of sentences. Stuttering often develops between the ages of 2 and 3 as a child is beginning to put longer sentences together. More developed stuttering can seem as if the words are getting stuck and sometimes involve eye or head movements in an effort to get the words out smoothly.
Many children who stutter will grow out of it without needing treatment, but there are some who don’t, and may continue to stutter into adulthood. Most speech pathologists will give a child about 6 months to recover on their own before starting treatment. Children are less likely to grow out of stuttering past 6 months or so, especially if there is a family history of stuttering.
If your child has been stuttering for over six months, or his/her stuttering is occurring excessively then they should be seen by a speech pathologist. Other indicators are that the child is avoiding saying certain words or has some physical symptoms such as grimacing, or eye rolling or head movements to try and get their words out.
At Coastal Kids Speech Pathology, we use the Lidcombe program for our young stutterers up until about 7 years of age. This program was designed at the University of Sydney and is well researched and proven to be effective. This program is a parent-based treatment where parents take the primary role in their child’s treatment with guidance and support from the Speech Pathologist.