The first sign of stuttering is usually repetitions of sounds and syllables. The onset may be sudden or gradual. It is quite common for young children to start to stutter between the ages of 2 and 4 years of age when language is developing rapidly. The symptoms of stuttering can change over time.
Many children recover naturally from stuttering but we are unable to tell from the type or severity of stuttering which children will recover and which will require therapy. We do know that a child is unlikely to recover naturally when they have been stuttering for more than 12 months and that we should intervene prior to school age to have the best chance to eliminate stuttering.
After assessment, the parents and Speech Pathologist will agree on whether to monitor the child’s stuttering or commence therapy depending on the length of time the child has been stuttering and the impact it is having on the child and family.
The Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention is treatment of choice for young children who stutter. The Speech Pathologist teaches the parent to provide therapy in a natural setting where the parent gives lots of praise for fluent (or ‘smooth’) speech and gently corrects stuttered (or ‘bumpy’) speech. The parent measures the severity of the child’s stuttering each day and this forms the basis for discussion with the Speech Pathologist at the weekly clinical session.