Stuttering: Fumbling With the Normal Flow of Speech
One of the great joys of parenting is listening to your child learn to speak. However, for some, this process causes concern, frustration, and social isolation.
"I couldn't wait until Cooper could talk. Now, every time he speaks I'm a nervous wreck," admits Susan, a mother of a seven-year-old child that stutters. "Everyone kept telling me he would outgrow it (stuttering), but he didn't. Soon after his fifth birthday, I knew I had to get help."
Learning to speak isn't easy. Speech requires rapid and intricate movements of the tongue, lips, jaw, vocal cords, and teeth. In addition, precise timing of the muscles for breathing and sound production is necessary to a child's ability to speak. Many factors can interrupt these processes.
Most children will speak normally by the time they enter kindergarten, but some will continue to have a speech or language disorder. A speech disorder occurs when a child has difficulty putting sounds together to form words. Stuttering is one of several speech disorders that cause disfluency in a person's ability to speak.
Last reviewedDecember 2013by Michael Woods, MD
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