The Most Common Causes of Stutters, and What to do Next

Causes of Stutters

Children as young as two years old can find themselves with an inability to speak smoothly and engage in fluent conversations. While no two-year-old has a full grasp on the English language, it can often be obvious, even at that age, that speech pathology may be a requirement for those who have a particularly challenging time with it.

A speech pathologist can be quick to pick up on signs that you’ve been seeing in your own child – or that teachers and family members have. The repetition of sounds, sentences, and words, prolonged word pronunciation, and tense facial muscles during conversations can all be signs of stuttering and the need for speech pathology experts to step in.

How Do I Know If My Child Has a Stutter?

Problems with speech flow tend to be one of the more common signs of stuttering. Sentences may start fluid but may end in repetition. Or, your child may repeat sounds while forming words, such as, “W… wh… w… what”.  Stressful social situations can see these symptoms amplified.

What Causes Stuttering?

Even the most advanced speech pathology expert won’t be able to tell you why your child has a stutter. There is no single cause, but many things may contribute. A family history, speech motor control complications, medical conditions and brain injuries, emotional and mental health conditions, and intellectual disabilities can play a part.

What Can I Do About My Child’s Stuttering?

Parents and family members are often the first to notice that their child has a stutter. Teachers and friends may see it too. However or whoever notices a potential problem, it’s crucial that you seek help. A doctor can refer you for speech pathology services, including appointments with speech-language pathologists.

Several factors can determine both the diagnosis of a stutter and the treatment for it going forward. Your child’s behaviour, the impact it has on them, and family history can all play a part in the process. Treatment options can also depend on the severity of the stutter.

Speech exercises, speech pathology, and a treatment plan are the more common outcomes. Parents can also do their part by providing a relaxing home environment, speaking slowly and in a relaxed manner, and giving their child as many opportunities as possible to talk. Patience and understanding are paramount to helping your child deal with their stutter in the most positive way.

Parents may also see the value in shielding their child from stressful situations, but encourage their conversation in stress-free situations. Always make eye contact during conversations, and partake in as many family discussions as possible to encourage chatter and conversation.

Early intervention with speech pathology experts is one of the best things you can do for your child you believe may be suffering from a stutter. See your GP for their advice and a referral and start putting steps in place to help your child be confident and certain in their speech.