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My 27 month old son started talking fairly early, and is very enthusiastic about it.

He talks constantly.

However, he does stammer a lot, and stutters on some words.

Most commonly, he'll have trouble starting a sentence. E.g. "I... I... I want to go look out the window".

I have been operating under the assumption that this is because he's still getting used to the physical act of speaking, and still developing the muscles and reflexes needed (much like he still has trouble with the letter 's'.

However, at what point should I start worrying? Is there a particular age range where this should start to disappear on its own?

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Are there any letters he specifically stutters over or is it really just beginnings of sentences? Are there any patterns, such as, he stutters when he is excited and in hurry, but not most of the rest of the time? –  balanced mama Dec 12 '12 at 17:39
    
In all honesty, I've only just started paying attention to it, after my wife mentioned it. I only recall hearing it at the beginning of sentences, and possibly just before the conjunction in a compound sentence. I don't think its tied to excitement, but its hard to tell because he's usually very enthusiastic about whatever he has to say. –  Beofett Dec 12 '12 at 17:46
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Update: about a week or two ago, my son stopped stuttering suddenly. At around the same time, we started noticing a significant increase in his ability to communicate verbally (i.e. larger vocabulary, more complex sentence structure, etc.). We suspect it was a developmental phase that was causing the stutter: his ability to form the thoughts was just slightly ahead of his ability to communicate them properly. –  Beofett Feb 18 '13 at 16:18
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2 Answers 2

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Many children stutter somewhat during toddler-hood and it this age it is considered a perfectly normal part of speech development.

It is not known exactly why stuttering occurs as part of speech development, but one idea out there that makes a lot of sense to me is that they simply get ahead of themselves from excitement or operate more slowly from fatigue at times. I buy into this one because in my own experience, kids seem particularly likely to stutter when in a hurry, tired or super excited about something. I actually think a lot of kids do this from time to time, but it seems that depending on how one measures, somewhere between 5-20% of kids do this at some point in their development.

Stuttering does actually run in families, and contrary to formerly popular belief is not likely to simply be brought on by some traumatic incident. If there is no stuttering in your family history, there probably is no real reason for concern. In my experience it would be a good idea to wait and watch. Don't worry about it too much (don't worry about correcting it), but pay attention and notice when it happens.

Stuttering Answers says:

"2) You are best advised to just observe your child's speaking for a period to assess if the stuttering is getting worse or not. It is not unusual to be in this observation period for up to 12 months. As mentioned, many children will spontaneously recover within that period. Having said that early intervention is most important and stuttering is best treated before the age of 6."

Some signs that there is something more serious going on can include:

  1. signs the child is tense and the stuttering increases the child's tension. btw - in these situations, the child recognizes the sounds are wrong and it will not help to correct him - but only serves to increase anxiety over the matter.
  2. Frequency of stuttering and the length of time spent on prolonged sounds increases.
  3. The child stops talking around certain people.

Most likely, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Some resources say that getting help is a good idea around age 5, while still others say six. I've had students whose parents sought out help at age 4 so the child didn't have problems socially at school. It seems to me, that if you wait a year or so and the stuttering still persists and especially if its frequency increases, sometime before the age of four is a good time to have your son evaluated (since he is only two now). For kids whose stutter starts a bit later, 5-6 seems to be the standard age.

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/stuttering

http://www.stuttering-answers.com/Stuttering-Toddler.html

http://www.thehealthguide.org/tag/stuttering-in-toddlers/

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I'm not sure if there's a specific age to start worrying about it, but since it's still very early on, applying gentle corrections will help reduce the amount of it.

By "gentle corrections", I mean repeating back his words to him (sans stutter) and where appropriate, encouraging him to repeat them back to you again. This technique is working well with our son, who seems to simply enjoy hearing the sounds of various letters over and over again (P-p-p-please).

Another thing to watch out for is your own (or any other peers/caregivers) speech patterns when talking to him - make sure they're talking normally, as toddlers love to mimic those around them.

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If he is stuttering because of anxiety, I'd be careful about too much correction. Though it is probably early to be concerned. –  balanced mama Dec 12 '12 at 18:04
    
Agreed - you have to be in tune with their emotions and if they're getting upset over the corrections, then it may be time to try a different strategy. –  Chris Dec 12 '12 at 18:15
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