Our son had a similar issue around his 2nd birthday, where he often repeated the first syllable(s) of a sentence 5.. 8 times and then said the word completely
(often but not necessarily in situations where he was excited or nervous).
I'm not an expert for development of children and their ability to talk, but I consider him quite ahead for his age (also at that time) concerning his ability to express himself and quite complex things.
We found a national organisation which supports parents (in Germany: http://www.bvss.de/ Bundesvereinigung Stotterer-Selbsthilfe e.V. ). They offered a free telephone hotline at certain dates where we got some advice and they sent us material (brochures etc.) and addresses of speech therapists in our region via mail.
The speech therapist on the hotline asked me several questions about the nature and frequency of the "stuttering".
She also wanted to know if the child itself seemed to be frustrated about its inability to speak "directly", which was not the case from our point of view.
The essence of her (the speech therapist's) advice was:
In 80% of the cases, this is a normal part of speech development (in my words: "if the brain is faster than the mouth") which disappears on its own.
As in our case there was only one of the several possible symptoms of stuttering, the speech therapist advised us to observe the development for about 6 weeks considering the following aspects and then call again, in case the symptoms have not disappeared or even get worse for further advice:
Aspects to consider:
- does the number of repeated syllables increase or decrease over time?
- does the "tension" of the child increase?
- does his frustration increase?
- do additional symptoms appear?
- is the stuttering dependent on time/situation/number of persons.
What parents can do:
- "unburden" the child: parents should talk more to the child and less often request the child to speak (e. g. after reading a story before going to bed not asking the child to retell the story, but just wait if it wants to do it on his own)
- be patient and give the child time for speaking (not interrupting it)
- say verses or sing songs with the child together as they often are easier to pronounce than "normal" sentences
- speak slowly
well, we waited for some weeks and the phenomenon disappeared.
Our son is now 3,5 years old and from time to time, there is a little "stuttering" (repeating some first syllables) but we consider that quite normal as he's talking a lot and also says quite difficult sentences.