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Stuttering is an interruption in the rhythm of speech in which a person may hesitate, repeat, or prolong sounds, syllables, words, or phrases. Most children go through periods of disfluency as they learn to speak, generally between the ages of 2 to 5. However, some children will continue to stutter. It becomes more serious when social and emotional responses to stuttering such as fear, anxiety, frustration, or embarrassment set in.

Stuttering Warning Signs:

1. Multiple whole or part word repetitions (ba-ba-ba-ba-baby)
2. Substitution of the schwa vowel (guh-guh-guh-goat instead of go-go-go-goat)
3. Prolongation of sounds (mmmmmmmommy)
4. Tremors around the mouth and jaw
5. Rise in pitch and loudness
6. Struggling to get words out or tension in the lips, tongue, throat or chest
7. Fear or frustration with speaking
8. Avoidance of talking

Risk Factors:

1. Family history of stuttering
2. Onset after age 3 ½
3. Stuttering 6-12 months or longer
4. Male
5. Other speech/language issues

Tips for talking with your child:

1. Speak in an unhurried way, pausing frequently
2. Reduce the number of questions you ask
3. Use facial expressions and other body language to let your child know you are listening to the content of his message and not how he is talking
4. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child
5. Help all family members learn to take turns talking and listening
6. When interacting with your child, give your child the message that your are listening and he has plenty of time to talk
7. Convey that you accept your child as he is—whether he stutters or not

Source:  "If Your Child Stutters: A Guide for Parents" - The Stuttering Foundation

Site of The Stuttering Foundation. This site has a wealth of information including videos and books for parents, teachers, and children.
National Stuttering Association (NSA) provides support, friendship, and information to the stuttering community.
National Association of Young People Who Stutter
Contains guidelines, suggestions, and general information for parents or other significant adults (e.g. day care providers) who have or know of a young child who repeats, blocks, or hesitates when speaking.


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