Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Other Conditions With Symptoms Similar to Stuttering

Many conditions can affect speech. In order to diagnose stuttering in your child, the following conditions will need to be ruled out as the primary cause:

  • Normal disfluency. This form of stuttering naturally resolves on its own, usually before puberty.
  • Hearing problems. When a child does not hear well, he or she may not speak normally.
  • Other sensory deficit. These problems can prevent a child from observing and practicing various aspects of speech. For example, a child with poor eyesight may have trouble recognizing body language or how words are formed.
  • Speech-motor deficit. Some children have speech irregularities due to nervous system or brain development problems.

Sometimes stuttering occurs along with another condition. In these situations, a health professional will try to determine whether stuttering is the primary or secondary problem. The following are speech problems that may be confused with or occur along with stuttering:

  • Cluttering. Speech is sporadic, fast, and jerky. Some slurring, irregular phrasing, pausing, or absence of syllables can also occur. The speaker usually is not aware of the problems.
    • Example of cluttering (spoken quickly and slurred): "I have muh-muh—ti-ti-time—money for a scoo ... uh ... thing you eat that's c-c-cold ... ice c-c-cream."
    • Example of developmental stuttering: "I have muh-muh-money for a scooooop of iiiiice cream."
  • Tourette's disorder, characterized by additional speech problems, interjections, and physical tics.
  • Spasmodic dysphonia. Speech has a muffled, struggling quality, as if the person is trying to talk while being strangled. Usually, this problem occurs only in people who are middle-aged.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last RevisedAugust 7, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool