What is stuttering?

According to the Stuttering Foundation of America, stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. Stuttering is also referred to as stammering.

When is a stuttering evaluation recommended?

If a family is concerned about their child’s stuttering, a consultation with a speech–language pathologist is recommended. In addition, an evaluation is recommended if one or more of the following conditions are present:

  • Stuttering lasts for 6 months or longer
  • Presence of tense or pushed sounds or words
  • A family history of stuttering
  • Your child appears aware or concerned about his/her speech

What to expect during a stuttering evaluation

During a 60-minute stuttering evaluation, the speech-language pathologist will collect information about your child’s medical history, developmental milestones, and your current concerns. The speech-language pathologist will talk to your child and may observe your child talking to you.

Results and recommendations will be discussed at the end of the evaluation. Depending on your child’s needs, stuttering therapy may be recommended and home activities may be discussed and demonstrated.

What to bring to a stuttering evaluation

What to expect during stuttering therapy

Based on the results of your child’s evaluation, stuttering therapy may be recommended. During treatment the speech-language pathologist may work on:

  • Reducing the frequency of stuttering
  • Decreasing the tension and struggle of stuttering
  • Decreasing word or situation avoidance
  • Using effective communication skills such as eye contact

For older children, the speech-language pathologist may also work on:

  • Educating your child about stuttering
  • Addressing the underlying emotional and self-esteem concerns

At Children’s, we believe that it is very important for families to be involved in all aspects of their child’s care. Depending on the child’s needs, parents are encouraged to view the sessions via monitors, observation mirrors, or in the therapy room. In addition, your child’s speech-language pathologist will discuss progress, provide worksheets for home practice, and demonstrate beneficial therapy techniques to ensure maximum benefit is received from therapy.

Find additional information on stuttering: