back to top  

Tips for stuttering toddlers.


Stuttering usually starts between the 2nd and 6th year of life. At this age it happens to many toddlers that they speak less fluently for a period of time. Around 4% of all toddlers repeat words or stumble over what they want to say. This is not surprising as talking is a complicated process that requires a lot of practice. At this age the vocabulary increases enormously, but the knowledge about sentence structure and speech motor skills are not sufficiently developed yet.

This stumbling speech, which happens in a very relaxed way, is called primary stuttering and actually has nothing to do with real stuttering. It usually disappears automatically. But some of these toddlers, one in three, really stutter, or will do so after a period of primary stuttering. The repetitions of words and letter then change: they become tense and far from relaxed.

After stumbling over words due to enthusiasm or haste, real, secondary stuttering arises. You can see this well: children, for example, keep lingering on the same letters, avoid certain words or situations, speak in a whisper and prefer to point to something rather than naming it.

It is also clear that they feel uncomfortable when they are stuck. Then the physical reactions can also come into place; the uncontrolled movements of the face and / or limbs, blushing, squeezing the tongue out of the mouth, tapping with the foot or hand and, in the worst case, to get the word out, hitting themselves.

Secondary stuttering can be caused by a fierce or emotional event, both positive and negative and other times there is no apparent reason. But once secondary stuttering has begun, a fearful expectation pattern will arise that sustains or even worsens stuttering. Some children grow “naturally” over their stuttering problems later in life, but nevertheless it is absolutely advisable to intervene as quickly as possible. Because it is more likely that it will not just pass away and that the child will remain trapped in his stuttering problem for life.

What you can do if your toddler stutters are the following:

  1. Don’t give well-meant advises such as talk slowly or think of your breathing.
  2. Let them feel that you take all the time to listen.
  3. Above all, NEVER laugh or joke about stuttering.
  4. As them whether they have a problem with their stutter.
  5. If they do have a problem with their stutter, come along with your child to the free intake at Del Ferro to see what the options are.