Stunned by Stuttering: Welcome to Toddlerhood
Most speech therapists don’t recommend that intervention be sought until the stuttering has lasted for a consistent six months, or gets worse instead of better.
What many parents don’t understand is why it has such a sudden onset, but the reason is actually simple. For many kids, their brain and thought functions are developing so much more quickly than their verbal skills that they are thinking ahead of what they are supposed to be saying. It is similar to trying to write something you are thinking, but you can’t write as fast as you can talk. When you imagine it that way, you will realize that often the stuttering is when they are excited to share something with you or are trying to tell you something that is important to them. Urge them only to slow down, but never make them repeat their entire sentence or correct them. This can make them not want to talk at all. Help when it comes to stuttering should always come in the form of patient guidance.
Other children begin to stutter when they are feeling nervous or under stress. If your family has been having some issues, chances are your toddler is picking up on them. Never underestimate what toddlers can understand emotionally. Toddlers who have older siblings are also more prone to develop stuttering habits because they feel competitive about speaking and having themselves heard. Often, older children overpower them.
Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned. Most speech therapists don’t recommend that intervention be sought until the stuttering has lasted for a consistent six months, or gets worse instead of better. In the meantime, feel reassured that your toddler is one of half of all toddlers who will have bouts of stuttering and give them the time they need to say what’s on their mind.