Many children go through a period of normal dysfluencys during the preschool years as they learn to put sounds, words and sentences together. Normal dysfluencys include word and phrase repetitions and hesitations.

Some children, however, develop a speech that includes sound and syllable repetitions, sound prolongations, and silent blocks (getting stuck on a sound). This is considered a “stutter”. An estimated 4% of preschoolers in Canada stutter, with onset occurring usually between the ages of 3 and 6.

Early intervention is the key to success. If you are concerned that your child may be stuttering, it is recommended that you seek professional assistance and perhaps an assessment from a registered speech-language pathologist.

As a parent or caregiver, it is important to know these general tips for communicating with children who stutter:

  • Focus on what is being said and not how it is said
  • Do not interrupt
  • Do not tell them to slow down or start over
  • Do repeat and rephrase what was said, but do not expect them to copy what you have said
  • Let them finish
  • Provide a relaxed environment for communication
  • Speak slowly
  • Simplify your language
  • Respond naturally to your child’s speech
  • Be patient and remember that a child who stutters is no less intelligent than his/her non-stuttering peers

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