Stuttering is a speech
problem in which you may repeat, draw out, not complete, or skip words or
sounds without meaning to. The problem can range from mild to severe.
Stuttering that starts during a child's early language-learning years (ages 2 through 7 years) and goes
away on its own before puberty is called normal disfluency. It's a
normal part of language development. Most children aren't bothered by it and may not even notice that they're doing it. This type of stuttering may come and go for a while. Then it may slowly decrease until it doesn't happen anymore.
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In rare cases, stuttering may be caused by brain
damage, such as after a head injury or
What are the symptoms?
People who stutter
Repeat sounds, parts of words, and sometimes
Draw out (prolong) a sound or syllable. For example, a child may say "I am fffive years old."
Try to say a word or form a sound, but no sound comes out. They may also pause between words or within a word.
Use a different word in place of a word that's hard to speak.
Show tension or discomfort while talking.
parts of phrases.
Add words or phrases that aren't related.
You may notice that your child stutters more when he or she is excited, anxious, stressed, or tired. Having to ask or answer questions or explain something complex may trigger or increase stuttering.
The same is true for teens and adults who stutter. It tends to get worse at stressful times, such as
during public speaking. It often doesn't occur during activities like singing, whispering, talking while alone or to pets, or reading aloud.
How is stuttering diagnosed?
speech-language pathologist can usually diagnose
stuttering by having the child read aloud. The pathologist may film or
record the child talking or may check speech patterns in other ways. Your child may also need a physical exam and other tests to rule out health problems that affect speech development, such as
Talk with your child's doctor if you have any concerns about your child's speech, if stuttering lasts more than 6 to 12 months, or if stuttering runs in your family.
If you are
an adult who has started to stutter, see your doctor. Stuttering that starts in
an adult is most often linked to an injury, a health problem, or severe
emotional trauma. To diagnose the problem, the doctor will do a physical exam,
ask you some questions, and watch and listen to you speak.