My child has disfluencies. Should I be concerned?
Most children have a period of disfluency during normal language development. This period typically lasts six months or less. Disfluencies may occur when the child is excited, trying to use long sentences, or in situations that are stressful. No tension or struggle is obvious and the child does not know that he/she is disfluent at this point. These disfluencies are common and are not a concern.
Disfluencies become a concern when a child is over the age of four and has had disfluent speech for longer than six months. The child may show signs of tension and effortful speech and may frequently repeat whole words and phrases. This may be evidence of stuttering. The child typically is not aware of his/her stuttering. Disfluencies are also a concern if there is a family history of stuttering. If these are things you see in your child, it may be best to contact a speech/language therapist. They can determine whether or not the child would benefit from speech therapy to help reduce disfluencies.
What can I do to help my child who has disfluencies?
· Talk in a calm, relaxed way
· Let the child finish his/her thoughts; don’t finish them for him/her
· Try to reduce stressful situations where the child has to speak
· Be patient
· Avoid telling the child to stop and start over or slow down