Many children may stutter some as they learn to talk. During this time, as your child's speech and language, thinking, and motor skills are still developing, it may be hard for them to get their words out.
Between the ages of 2 and 5, it is normal to hear your child repeat words and say "uh" and "um." However, stuttering may also begin during this same time period. This can make it hard to tell if your child is beginning to stutter or is just going through a normal stage of development.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Stuttering Foundation are working together during National Stuttering Awareness Week (May 9–15) to raise awareness with parents about the warning signs and the benefits of early intervention of stuttering.
Most children have times when their speech is not smooth. However, your child may be at a higher risk for chronic stuttering if they:
- begin stuttering after three-and-a-half years of age
- have other family members who stutter
- have other speech or language problems
- are a boy—boys are more likely to stutter than girls
- have been stuttering longer than six months
"Understanding these risk factors will help you decide whether or not your child needs to see a speech-language pathologist," says Jane Fraser, President of the Stuttering Foundation.
"If you are concerned about your child's speech, consult with a speech-language pathologist who works with children," ASHA President Paul Rao, PhD, CCC-SLP says. "The speech-language pathologist will be able to determine whether the child is stuttering and can show your child techniques to speak more fluently," Rao adds.
For free information on stuttering and a detailed explanation of each risk factor, contact ASHA at 800-638-TALK (8255) or the Stuttering Foundation at 800-992-9392. You may also visit www.asha.org or www.StutteringHelp.org.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 145,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.
About the Stuttering Foundation
The Stuttering Foundation provides resources, services, and support to those who stutter and their families, as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering. It provides education, training, and information to professionals, children and adults who stutter, parents, teachers, and all those concerned about stuttering, and is a valuable resource for speech-language pathologists working in the schools with children of all ages.
View all ASHA press releases at www.asha.org/about/news.
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