My child has started to Stutter

Stuttering is a relatively common communication disorder that affects 1-2% of the population and impacts the fluency or flow of speech.

Children who stutter have difficulty saying what they want to using smooth or fluent speech.  Unfortunately the onset of stuttering in young children can cause much worry and even alarm for parents.  Luckily we have several effective treatments at our fingertips to help….but first, some answers to some frequently asked questions.

What Causes Stuttering

Contrary to popular belief, stuttering is not caused by anxiety, exposure to trauma / stress or parenting.  Instead, it is now known that stuttering is a problem with neural processing involving the brain activity that supports speech production.  We also know that stuttering tends to run in families and is more common in males than females.

Can Stuttering Appear Overnight?

Stuttering can appear quite suddenly or can develop gradually over several weeks or months. Stuttering is usually first noticed in the toddler to preschool years when children are learning to combine words into phrases and short sentences.  Stuttering can range in severity to very mild to quite severe.

Will my child grow out of it?

Some children will naturally grow out of their stuttering whilst some will require therapy.  As it is not possible to predict which children will recover naturally, speech pathologists recommend that children who begin to stutter should receive therapy.

What Does Stuttering Sound Like?


These are the most common type of stuttering behaviour. Repetitions often occur at the beginning of an utterance and may be the first sound, syllable or entire word or phrase.

  • e.g. “C C C Can I have the car?”
  • e.g. “Can Can Can I have the car?”
  • e.g. “Choc Choc Chocolate is yummy”
  • e.g. “I want I want I want a biscuit”


Children who use this stuttering behaviour sound like they are ‘stuck’ on words. The word does not sound bumpy as with repetitions but more like a struggle to get the words out. Blocking is often accompanied by facial grimaces or other body movements.


Words may sound stretched
• e.g. “IIIIIIIIIIIIIII want one”

How is stuttering treated?

Luckily we have plenty of effective interventions available for treating stuttering.  Those who receive early intervention have really good chances of becoming stutter-free particularly if that treatment is received in the preschool years when treatments are simpler and more effective.

Some recent research has shown that even children as young as 7 who stutter are at risk of feeling anxious about talking in social situations so this is another reason why we recommend treating stuttering when a child is under the age of 6 years wherever possible.

There are currently two evidence-based approaches that we use to treat preschooler who stutter at Learn2Communicate. These are the Lidcombe Programme and the Westmead Program.  Both are effective and many can be delivered either face to face or using telehealth.

Please contact a Speech Pathologist if you have any concerns that your child may be stuttering.  Contact us if you would […]