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St. David's Center is carefully re-launching center-based services in Minnetonka and Minneapolis as of the week of April 27, including day treatment programs and pediatric therapy. The majority of our early intervention services will continue to be provided by telehealth. Close
Language Development

5 Possible Signs of Stuttering

4 December 2017

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Stuttering is a disruption in the forward flow of speech. Stuttering may take many forms and may be accompanied by secondary behaviors. It is normal for preschoolers to display some non-fluent speech, but this tends to be episodic or cyclical, coming and going without apparent cause.

Less typical non-fluent speech that may be signs of stuttering include:

1. Part-word or part-sound repetition such as “ta-ta-ta-table” or “t-t-t-toy”

  • Whole-word repetition is more typical of normal language development.

2. Drawn-out sounds like “rrrrrrrrrrabit”

  • Phrase repetitions such as “I wanted to-I want to go” are typical of normal development.

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3. Brief loss of voice or airflow for several seconds called a block

  • Hesitations, silent pauses or interjections such as “like” or “um” are more typical of normal development.

4. Physical tension, struggle or tremors

Good to know: There is no known one cause of stuttering. It is not caused by emotional problems, nervousness or parenting style.

5. Fear or avoidance of speaking

Good to know: Many preschoolers will outgrow early signs of stuttering.

If you’re concerned about your child’s speech:

  • keep a journal to document any improvement or decline
  • request a screening through your local school district

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