Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. The condition is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies." A person who stutters may repeat parts of a word (“muh-my”), whole words (“my my”), prolong sounds (“mmmmy”) or experience a blockage of speech when no sound comes out (“m---my”). People who stutter may also exhibit secondary characteristics while stuttering such as blinking their eyes, breaking eye contact, tensing the muscles in their mouth or moving their hands, feet or head. Stuttering begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life.
About three-quarters of children who exhibit stuttering in their preschool years will outgrow it. Because of this, for young children, it is important to determine whether their stuttering is a temporary condition or a long-term issue. Evaluations are completed by speech-language pathologists who are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of stuttering. We offer evaluations and therapy for preschool, school-age and adolescents who stutter.
Evaluating a child’s stutter requires a series of tests, observations and interviews designed to estimate the child's risk of continuing to stutter. No single factor can determine a child’s long-term outlook. Instead, a range of factors are considered and must be balanced against each other, including:
Family history of stuttering
Length of time stuttering has been happening (6-12 months)
Severity of the stuttering
Whether stuttering has been consistent or has increased steadily over time
Presence of other speech or language disorders
Whether the child has a sensitive temperament
Whether the child or the family have strong fears or concerns about stuttering
Therapy Methods & Goals
The goal of preschool fluency therapy is to help a young child develop normal fluency. With that in mind, our therapy for preschool-aged patients is typically designed to eliminate or significantly reduce the child’s stuttering.
Parents play a critical role in helping their child produce fluent speech. For that reason, it is recommended parents attend and participate in all therapy sessions so they can learn the strategies and techniques used in therapy and use them at home with their child.
For children around age seven and older, stuttering is viewed as something to be managed. For these individuals, we evaluate the overall severity of the disorder. We also assess the impact the disorder has on the person's ability to communicate and participate appropriately in daily activities. Information from the evaluation is then used to develop a specific treatment program that is designed to help the individual speak more fluently, communicate more effectively and participate more fully in activities.
Make an Appointment
To schedule an appointment, first obtain an order or referral from your primary care physician and then call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC) to schedule.
Resources & Support
For more information on stuttering, please visit the specialist-recommended sites below: