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Stuttering Among Children

What is stuttering among children?

Does your child often stammer or tend to repeat the same syllables or words when talking? If so, have you ever wonder whether your child has a stutter?

Stuttering is a condition in which speech is not smooth or discontinuous.

Normally, children aged 2 to 5 years experience a period of stuttering in their language developmental processes. When they speak, they might have discontinuous speech, repeating syllables, words or sentences, prolongation of a sound and cessation in the middle of a phrase. This is not uncommon. Almost 5% of children suffer from normal stuttering in childhood.

Sometimes this happens due to the child being too tired, happy and excited to speak or wants to speak in a rush.

What is normal stuttering among children?

  1. Children with normal stuttering usually repeat syllables or words 1 to 2 times in an utterance, for example, “sa-sa-me”. Stuttering is also accompanied by inserts such as “um,” “uh” and “er”.
  2. Stuttering appears between the ages of 2 and 5 years. It comes and goes at certain times.Stuttering might occur as the child is going through the learning process of new things and trying to master the language skills.

What are the risk factors of stuttering?

The main reason of stuttering is still unknown; however the following are factors often associated with stuttering :

  • Genetic ? Individuals who have a family history of stuttering problems are most likely to experience this problem.
  • Developmental ? Children having rapid cognitive, physical, social / emotional and language development at age 2 to 5 years.
  • Environment ? Children who are exposed to stuttering individuals (parents, brothers, relatives), tend to follow their conversational style and can lead to stuttering. In addition, parental expectations can also contribute to stuttering among children. High expectations of parents can increase the anxiety and fear of children and thus increase the tendency to stutter.

What are the stuttering symptoms among children?

  • Repetition of syllables and words more than 2 times e.g. “li-li-li-like”.
  • Repetition involves difficulties and muscles tension around face and mouth.
  • Starts at age of 3 and a half and does not resolve.
  • The stuttering comes and go more frequently. It occurs for 6 to 12 months and is sometimes persistent.
  • The child avoids using words that he often stutters.
  • Stutters more than 10 words in a collection of 100 words.

What are the effects of stuttering in children?

As children continue to grow up, they will start to realize their speech problem. Therefore they will start to feel ashamed to talk. This will reduced the childrens’ self-esteem to communicate. Moreover, peers also start to notice the stuttering and will tease them for it.

In addition, stuttering will increase pressure in the child whenever he is required to speak.

How to identify stuttering in children?

If your child presents with the stuttering symptoms, consult a nearby speech language therapist in order to get a diagnosis and proper management.

Tips to help children with stuttering…

  • Speak calmly and do not rush, pause frequently when speaking to your child. Wait before you respond to your child after they finish. Modelling on how to talk calmly and smoothly is more effective than commenting or critiquing the way they talk.
  • Model how to speak smoothly by using short and easy phrases.
  • Avoid demanding your child to speak correctly every time.
  • Create opportunity for your child to speak in calm, peaceful, and happy manner.
  • When talking, make sure you are listening to your child and avoid completing or correcting your child’s speech.
  • Use fewer questions with your child. Comment and describe your child’s speech without asking about it.
  • Spend more time with your child. Spend more time to interact with your child effectively to build up the child’s confidence to speak.
  • Use tips to communicate with stuttering individual.


  1. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/stuttering diperoleh pada 2 September 2015.
  2. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/kids diperoleh pada 2 September 2015.
  3. https://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/Parents/Parentsguide.html diperoleh pada 2 September 2015.
  4. (http://www.myhealth.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8170&Itemid=3 diperoleh pada 2 September 2015.
Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer / Translator : Nurul Fatehah bt. Ismail
Accreditor : Siti Suhana bt. Mohd Khalid
Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi