What is stuttering? The American Speech-Language Hearing Association defines it as:
Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies."
However, it can may become a problem when:
- your toddler tenses up his/her body or mouth like he/she is trying to push out his/her words.
- your toddler avoids speaking all together
- your toddler's pitch rises when he/she stutters
- your toddler stutters on the majority of his/her speech throughout the day (experts say on more than 10% of his/her speech)
- speaking at a slower rate of speech
- allowing enough time for him/her to get the message across to you
- avoiding saying things like "slow down", "stop", and "relax" as this may add more pressure to your toddler to speak
- limiting the number of questions you ask; instead comment on what he/she says
- being supportive
If you do suspect that your toddler may have a more severe disfluency please don't hesitate to talk to a pediatric speech-language pathologist. You know your toddler better than anyone else! You can learn how to find a local SLP by reading one of my other blog posts, Help! My Toddler Is Not Talking.
To learn more speech and language tips to help your toddler talk and communicate faster, be sure to check out my book on Amazon Kindle, Talking With Todders - 52 Tips to Boost Speech and Language Skills.