Childhood Stuttering in the Spotlight

Stay up to date with the latest speech pathology tips and trends

Parents of children who begin to stutter will often wonder if their child will grow out of it, or whether they need to seek help and treatment from a Speech Pathologist.

Research suggests that around 8% of children will develop stuttering during their early language development (1). Generally speaking, stuttering appears in toddlers and pre-schoolers as this is the period of time in which a large jump in communication and talking is observed.

However, we know that anywhere up to 80% of children who begin to stutter will experience natural recovery, where a stutter resolves without any therapy (1, 2). However, there’s no sure way of knowing whether or not your child will be part of that magical 80%.

Nevertheless, there are some signs that Speech Pathologists look out for that suggest your child may be less likely to naturally recover and is therefore in the higher risk category. These signs are:

  • Male gender
  • Development of stuttering later in life
  • More severe stuttering
  • Family history of stuttering

Childhood Stuttering – When to Seek Treatment

It is important to remember that if your child has been stuttering for more than 6 months or is starting school soon, it is recommended to book in for an assessment immediately. The best time to treat a stutter is in the preschool years, so it is ideal to have it investigated in this time period. The long-term effects of stuttering on social wellbeing, self-esteem and mental health are well documented (3) so it’s always best to be on the front foot.

Furthermore, it is important to consider yours and your child’s peace of mind. Stuttering can make children quite anxious, and if this is the case for your child, it is best to contact a Speech Pathologist and put their mind at ease by doing something proactive.

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And check out our page on Stuttering for more information or to book an appointment with one of our therapists:

  1. Bostian, A. (2013). Disfluency Characteristics of Children Aged 4-5 Years Associated with Persistence And Recovery of Stuttering. Purdue University.
  2. Kalinowski, J., Saltuklaroglu, T., Dayalu, VN., Guntupali, V. (2005). Is it possible for speech therapy to improve upon natural recovery rates in children who stutter? Int J Lang Commun Disord.

Blood, G., Blood, I. (2016). Long-term Consequences of Childhood Bullying in Adults who Stutter: Social Anxiety, Fear of Negative Evaluation, Self-esteem, and Satisfaction with Life. Journal of Fluency Disorders.

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