This Ask A Speechie question is answered by Speech Pathologist Anna Woodburn.
If you think your child is stuttering, you are most likely right! Stuttering is common and usually starts between the ages of 2 and 4. Onset may be gradual or sudden. There is currently no known cause of stuttering but the research suggests that there may be a genetic link. Stuttering is regarded as being a physical disorder and is not caused by psychological factors or parenting practices. Stuttering impacts on a child’s communication, and often their emotional well-being, so it is important to commence immediate intervention to prevent long-term effects.
Your first step is to make a phone call to a Speech Pathologist. They will ask questions about the onset, characteristics, patterns, and severity of your child’s stutter. In most cases, a formal assessment will be recommended, so that the Speech Pathologist is able to observe your child talking, listening and playing, in order to obtain a broader communication profile and determine the best intervention approach.
If you would like more information about stuttering and evidence-based treatment approaches for children of different ages, please refer to the University of Sydney’s Australian Stuttering Research Centre website or ring Melbourne Child Development and ask to speak to a Speech Pathologist.