Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by disruptions in speech, causing communication breakdowns. Sound repetitions, word repetitions, rephrasing using speech fillers, and muscle tension in the face, among others, are some signs of disfluency in speech.
Risk factors for stuttering include:
- a family history of stuttering
- age at which child begins to stutter
- the time since onset of stuttering
- the gender of the child who stutters
Research has shown that if a child begins to stutter before age 3, the child is more likely to outgrow stuttering. If a child continues to stutter longer than 6 months, the child is more likely to continue to stutter. Studies have also shown that boys are more likely to continue stuttering than girls.
The vast majority of children outgrow stuttering, but some children do not outgrow this speech disorder. Diagnosis and treatment at an early age can be significant in reducing and eliminating stuttering.
For preschool stuttering, Chris has specialty training in the evidence-based therapy, Lidcombe Program of Early Stuttering Intervention. A behavioral treatment, Lidcombe is direct treatment involving a parent or caregiver. The speech-language pathologist trains the parent in the treatment program. The parent learns to give feedback to the child who stutters, providing reinforcement for fluent speech. More about the Lidcombe program can be found at http://sydney.edu.au/health_sciences/asrc/clinic/parents/lidcombe.shtml