Articles on adoption, foster care, & pediatrics

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Many children from age 18 months to 5 years old have occasional initial syllable or word repetitions, or use of filler pauses ("Umm ...") - this is called disfluency, and is usually a normal developmental stage where the mind is thinking of words faster than the mouth can utter them.

True stuttering is more common in boys, if there's a family history of stuttering, with later onset of symptoms, if there are speech/language delays, and if the stuttering is more often present than not, especially if present for 6-12 months or more.

Some characteristics of true stuttering include:

  • frequent repetitions of sounds, syllables, or short words
  • frequent hesitations and pauses in speech
  • absence of smooth speech flow
  • tense facial expressions or facial tics
  • a fear of talking
A nice guide for parents trying to sort this out is "If You Think Your Child is Stuttering ...", from the Stuttering Foundation (they have a great website). I also really like their streaming video, with examples of disfluencies and true stuttering, and helpful advice.