When to be Concerned with Stuttering...

April 26, 2017

As speech-language pathologists (SLPs), we receive numerous questions from friends and family about concerns they have with their child’s speech.  One of the most frequently asked questions is about stuttering.  My child stutters when they are excited, is that “normal”?  The teacher noticed my child is stuttering when she calls on him, is that “normal”?  “How do I know when I should seek an evaluation?”



Below are areas of concern/risk factors to determine if you child’s fluency (stuttering) should be further evaluated:

  1. You have a family history of stuttering – parents, siblings, uncles/aunts, grandparents, etc.

  2. Your child has been stuttering for more than six months – think about the onset of the stuttering and if any changes in routine or lifestyle have been made.

  3. Your child exhibits secondary behaviors, a behavior that occurs in conjunction with their stuttering (i.e. grimacing, eye blinking, tapping, etc.)

  4. Your child has negative reactions toward stuttering – limits speech in front of strangers or in the classroom/ is fearful about stuttering

  5. Your child has other speech-language concerns (i.e. articulation, expressive language etc.)

  6. Your child is receiving negative reaction from peers or teachers


Remember we all have some moments of normal disfluency (stuttered-like speech).  Determine if any of the areas above apply to your child’s moments of disfluency and trust your instincts. Parents know their child best.  A SLP can screen and/or evaluate a child’s speech and determine the severity of the stuttered-like speech and overall need for intervention.  

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