My 2.5-year-old grandson came for visitation and he's very smart. He had a lump on his forehead and is stuttering. He always speaks in complete sentences. Like "May I have that cookie", or "Pop Pop I would like bacon, dippy (fired (eggs and potatoes please". This Friday, he was unable to ask for a cookie, and was stuttering like I I I I I or EEEEEEE. He wanted a drink, which he usually states, "Can I have apple juice", or "watermamen" (his way of saying watermelon). But Saturday, he was stuttering IIII EEEEEE and he would suddenly holler cup!

I mentioned to the mom, but she said she would pay more attention, I am worried. She went away out of state and I do not know if he is ok. She doesn't get along with my son much. Should we be concerned?

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    Are you able to stay in contact with her directly, or do you have to speak with her through your son? Any idea if she's taken him to see a pediatrician? Speaking only as a mom and not a doctor or nurse or any other medical professional, if that were MY son I'd have him at the pediatrician ASAP. That, of course, is assuming she's not already had him checked out and been given the all-clear.
    – Valkyrie
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 19:18
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    The child may also just be experimenting or playing around with speech patterns - our first child did this sort of thing around this age, where he picked up this sort speaking pattern from his peers because he thought it was neat.
    – Krease
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 22:48

3 Answers 3


It could be a symptom of brain injury, or it could be completely benign—a result of stress, being tired, or just the natural evolution of his language skills. Sometimes kids that age start trying to imitate adults by talking just as fast, but their oral motor skills aren't developed enough yet. They also aren't very aware yet of how their speech sounds to others. To him, it might sound perfectly fine in his head.

The only way to be sure it's not brain injury is to go to the ER and get an MRI. However, usually you would see the speech problems constantly, and usually there would be one or more other symptoms as well, like vomiting, falling over, spacing out, lethargy, fever, etc. My daughter occasionally gets these attacks due to a brain injury when she was born.

I personally would rather be safe than sorry, but in your shoes I wouldn't stay awake worrying if his mother isn't concerned. Two year-olds talk funny sometimes.

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    "Two year-olds talk funny sometimes" - exactly this. Unless there are other signs or information that something may be wrong, this was my first thought.
    – Krease
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 22:51

One of my kids did this on a trip to his grandparents! Off I went to a book store to read Penelope Leach who assured me that it was probably temporary and would go away on its own if we didn't focus on it, and she was right. It resolved in a month or two.

According to stutteringhelp.org:

Some 20 percent of all children go through a stage of development during which they encounter disfluencies severe enough to be a concern to their parents. Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Three-quarters of those will recover by late childhood, leaving about 1% with a long-term problem.

...If the stuttering persists beyond three to six months or is particularly severe, you may want to seek help from a speech-language pathologist who specializes in stuttering...


Firstly, don't worry excessively. If you have a genuine concern over the "lump" on his head then obviously you should act on that, but my first thought is that you are looking for a reason for, or a cause of his sudden stammer because, naturally, you want to fix it, but in looking for a cause you may have placed undue focus on the lump. Kids do bang their heads all the time, whilst playing, whilst at school or nursery, and usually, it is nothing to worry about. My daughter's school would place a sticker on them saying "I bumped my head today" so parents knew about it, but otherwise nothing.

There are many possible causes for the stammer:

  • family history of stuttering
  • family dynamics
  • neurophysiology
  • development during childhood

You may not want to hear this, but maybe your grandson is going to have a stammer, not due to anyone's fault, but because he was always genetically disposed to get one. If that is the case, then I'm sure you won't love him any less than if he was "perfect". Kids with stammers can get help from speech therapy which may mean he loses it, or learns to control it. But equally, this could just be something transient. Many young kids go through a stage between the ages of 2 and 5 when they stutter (stammer) and he is at that age. There are lots of other things like this that just go away by themselves. Depending on which study you read, either 1 in 10, or as many as 1 in 4 children will develop a tic at some point in their childhood, and most last no more than a year.

Keeping calm and not worrying the child by correcting him or pointing out his stammer will help. Pass on what you have observed to his parents, but don't try to solve the problem or suggest possible causes, as this may cause friction between you and his parents. Support them in any way they are advised to deal with it.

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    Great answer, +1. Welcome to the site! Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 16:09

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