22 answers

Sudden Stuttering

My 2.5yr old son, who is very articulate, has suddenly started to stutter. The problem exists mainly in the IIII and What What What. He only repeats full words not specific sounds. He has never had a problem articulating any words. He can even pronounce R's and L's. His vocabulary is that of about a 5 or 6 yr old and he has been saying words since he was 6mths. I am worried about the sudden onset of the stuttering. I have read this can be behavioral, or medical. I am making an appointment with his physician next week, and plan to have his hearing checked as well. The odd thing is when I ask him to repeat what he is saying properly or ask him to slow down and start over, the stuttering is not there. I am praying this is a phase, but having studied problems such as this I am just a little worried.
Thank you in advance for your input!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of your responses. We are watching our DS closely after an examination with a SLP. We are going back to check again in 6mths for a follow-up. After evaluating his specific stuttering pattern and language level, she thinks it is just a phase. We will see. Thank you for all of your wonderful responses.

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I'm not a doctor or anything, but my 3 year old son does this sometimes, I think it may be that he just has so much to say and can't get it all out as fast as he would like.

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Hello T.,
I found this site about stuttering. I don't know much about it, but people I have asked said it could be any number of things. Just some suggestions. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=17
As for adopting, bless you. I am a birthmother and applaude you in your desire to adopt. Please, if I can, make a suggestion. Whatever you should promise, please be sincere and follow through to the best of your ability. As a birthmother, I hung on every word they told me, they didn't follow through and it was very disheartening since I kept my promises to them. Adoption can be a wonderful thing. I do pray that your special child comes and everything works out for you all. I mean no disrepsect at all. I hope you know that. If you need anything or have any questions, I will be glad to answer them to help you. I am so excited for you. This is so awesome!
W. from Indiana

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T., Just like your son my granddaughter started the stuttering with the I's and the what's when she was around three. It floored me because she also is so articulate. I talked to her pre-school teacher and she assured me it is usually just a phase and she should come outof it before she turned four. I can tell you she is now four and a half and she hasn't stuttered in the last six months. She was going through some emotional traumas at the time of the stuttering which could have been the reason but I am so glad she is back to normal. L. R

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I would like to echo many of the other comments and say that my son (who sounds like yours) did the same thing. It may have taken a month or so, but he just stopped doing it.

One important thing no one mentioned is to not make a big deal about it. I would hesitate to see a special doctor or talk to him about it too much (yet). Bright children this age can pick up on a lot and the last thing you want him to do is worry about what he is saying and become upset or self-concious, which can make this much worse and last much longer!

Definitely model to him by slowing down your speech and taking more deep breaths with him when he is struggling. You can tell him that you understand sometimes his words get tangled and it is okay. Then just slow him down without putting too much emphasis on the stuttering.

Hope this helps, and try not too worry to much!!!

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My son did the same thing. Then when his little son was about 2.5, he started doing it as well. I used the same tactic with my grandson that I used with his daddy, which is this:

I got down at eye level (or lifted him up and sat him on the counter in front of me), looked him in the eyes and said softly but firmly, "Breathe. Take three deep breaths with me. One ... (in then out) ... Two (in/out)... Three (in/out). Now; talk slowly and use your words to tell me what you were going to say."
I have to tell you, it worked every time. Another poster here said it: their brains are going a mile a minute and their verbal skills are trying to catch up.
It's a normal phase and he'll outgrow it, but this technique will work in the meantime.

Best,

C.

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Hi T.,

Before moving to Wake Forest 9 months ago, I worked as an SLP in the schools (early childhood and elementary). There is a time where stuttering can occur in young children between the ages of 2 or 3 and 5 years. It is noted as a developmental phase. Does he show signs of being frustrated? Is he exhibiting any secodary characteristics (i.e tensing up, eye binks etc) It is great the he is responsive to your cues of slowing down and repeating you. It is a good idea to have his hearing checked. If you are overly concerned, I would make an appointment with a certified speech and languge pathologist. Meeting with your docotr is great, however they are not the experts in the field of communication. The national stuttering foundation is also a great resource. Based on what you have shared and not meeting him, it seems to fit the developmental phase. If you would like to talk more or I can be of any help, please feel comfortable to contact me.

Have a great day.

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This is most likely a phase. My son's friend did it at about the same age. I was very concerned because I know how devastating a speech problem can be, so I asked one of the speech therapists that I work with about it. She said that since it was a sudden onset, it would most likely disappear just as suddenly as it started. Sure enough, a few weeks later,it stopped, although he will still stutter on occasion when he's really excited. My son is about 5 months younger than his friend, and he recently went through the same thing. He stopped stuttering also. It is probably just a phase. I want to say it was only a few weeks that they stuttered but I am not sure, its been a few moinths since it happened. I hope that helps!

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Hi T.,

My daughters did the same thing around that age and they both had been very articulate as well. What's happening is their brains are processing things quicker than they can say them, so they have a lot they are trying to say and it's coming too fast and so they stutter. I would continue to do what you are doing which is having him stop and slow down so that he can figure out exactly what he wants to say. Once he gets in the habit of that the stuttering will go away, at least it did for my girls and they are both well spoken and articulate girls now.

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Their minds work faster than their mouths, and the mouths try to catch up. ( : Toddler and preschoolers do that. Please relax and don't stress yourself or him. He is normal. Don't make it a big issue when it isn't. If he can say it clearly when he catches his breath and slows down, just remind him to catch his breath and slow down. Please don't be critical. He will grow out of it. I know some kids who grow out of it, back into it, and back out of it again. ( :

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Dear T. R
I too used to studder when I was young even my sisters and brother. We did grow out of it. I think what happen. when we are young we try to voice our oppinions and want to get it out really fast so others will hear.
I taught myself to slow down. And those who are listening must stop and listen to them. Don't rush.
You have a good day today
Vicki W.

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Hi T.-

We went through this with our first daughter when she was about 2 also. She was also very verbally advanced for her age. The pediatricians kept saying she would outgrow it but it seemed to get worse instead of better. At around 3, we went for a speech evaluation. The speech therapist said it was called disfluency and that she just was thinking way faster than her body could get out the sounds. The interesting thing is that none of her preschool teachers or our friends or family noticed it until we mentioned it and then they all said Oh yeah I have heard her do that. So the therapist worked with our daughter for a couple of sessions on slowing down, and gave us lots of "homework" to practice saying things slowly, and after 3 sessions said she would not take our money any more, it was no longer necessary to attend. Once in a while when she is very excited she still stutters, but rarely, and she is now almost 4. We never interrupted her, or called attention to it. Sometimes she would repeat a word 35 times before she got it out! I think the speech therapy really helped. We went to Sarah Kinnarny at Pediatic Therapy Associates ###-###-####). It certainly helped me with what to do or not do, and we were glad we dealt with it before she noticed she (or her peers) noticed it was an issue.

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I had a friend with a little one who went thru this as well. She took him to a speech therapist who told her to have the family just slow down their pace. Whatever was changing in the family structure, pace, something new was making him a bit nervous and therefore he could not articulate because he felt anxious.

Being an adoptive mom of 2 beautiful children, I know how eager/anxious/nervous a time that can be. Perhaps he feels your emotions?

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I'm not a doctor or anything, but my 3 year old son does this sometimes, I think it may be that he just has so much to say and can't get it all out as fast as he would like.

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Has anything changed in his routine or life? My sister, who was very articulate, started stuttering when very young. We found out that it was a response to moving in our new house. The move was a positive one, but something that could be a minor blip in our world can be a major blip in theirs. How long has this been going on? We all know when my sister started stuttering, but no of us can recall when she stopped. So, it sounds like you are going the proper routes to assure yourself. We can just speak from personal experience, and I would never discouraage people from seeking other help as a piece of mind. I hope you get the answers you seek and the reassurance you need.

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As I'm sure other mothers will tell you, this is probably nothing to worry about. My son did the exact same thing - his brain was working faster than his mouth at that stage (although the mouth caught up with a vengence!!!). What we did was tell him to stop, take a breath, slow down and start over. He was just thinking faster than he could talk, and it sounds like that is what your son is doing. He'll be fine - and he will probably always be a real talker!!!

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This may put your mind at ease... my 4 yo started stuttering at 2 and a speech therapist assured us it was a phase. He would get better for a few months, and then start stuttering for a few more months, on again, off again for about a year, maybe a little longer. My son just knew a whole lot, and that was a lot for his little brain to process while trying to put those sentences together. He knew at LEAST 10 times more than my youngest son, who is turning two, at 2 years old, so I think he's learning a lot very quickly and therefore, he's LITERALLY got a lot on his mind :) At 4, my son speaks well, and actually only stutters when he's trying to say a word that's tough to pronounce (example, yesterday we were talking about the Mich State SPARTANS, since that's a new word, it took him a few tries to get it right) but we haven't heard the daily stuttering for some time now :)

Check out www.feingold.org. Feingold is a 30yr old non-profit organization whose purpose is to inform the public about petroleum-based artificial ingredients in our food supply. These harmful additives cause ADD, ADHD, OCD, and many other emotional and physical side effects including STUTTERING. It is worth a try and your sweet little boy will be healthier on an all-natural diet too. Good luck.

HI! Try telling him to stop, slow down, and think about what he wants to say - sometimes the words try to come out faster than they can! Good luck!

Is he in a preschool or mother's day out program where he is around other kids? If so, he could be picking it up from another kid in the class. When my sister was little, she had that trouble. She picked up the problem of confusing the 'l' and 'w' sounds because there was a child in her preschool who had speech trouble. With a little bit of speech therapy, she unlearned the problem very quickly.

I don't know what is going on in your situation but had never been around anyone who stuttered before my sister's little boy. Let me tell you the story and then you may think of something in your own house that you aren't aware of.
My sister's little boy apparently wanted to be left handed. His dad was a high school quarter back and dreamed of his son to do the same except for some reason he thought that if he was left handed, he wouldn't be able to be one or at least a good one. So his dad tried to change him. Everytime he would use his fork, his dad would take it out of his left hand and put it in his right hand. Anytime he used his left hand, his dad would change it for him. Pretty soon he started stuttering. My sister took him to a speech therapist who immediately picked up on the problem and her husband quit doing that and finally accepted that his son will be who he is, not who he wanted him to be. Pretty soon the stuttering stopped and today he is just fine. He is 22 yrs old and very intellegent with no stuttering.
I am not saying that is going on in your house hold but what my point is: who ever would have thought that would make a child stutter. Maybe with this info you may find some weird reason that you never would have dreamed of, that is making him do that.
I hope he gets straightened out quickly before it gets too bad.
Good luck to you.

I wrote here a year ago when our 2 1/2 year old suddenly started stuttering. And got lots of responces to calm my fears down. The crazy thing with our son his stutter comes and goes every 4-6 months. We had him evaluated when it came back the third time and it was the worst, but he did not stutter at all during evaluation. Now it's gone again.It would not hurt to get him evaluated though

One of my sons went to a speech therapist for awhile and it really helped him. Sometimes stuttering can be a sign of stress. Is he under some stress?

Sudden onset of stuttering is sometimes associated with a diagnosis of PANDAS which is a neurological disorder associated with untreated strep infections. There is a specific titer or blood test that a pediatrician can draw to detect this.

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