At the age of three to four, children begin stuttering as they develop their speech and language skills. That is just normal during the speech development stage, which causes toddlers to constantly repeat, hesitate, and mispronounce words, sounds, and syllables. This temporary stage is called normal disfluency or pseudo-stuttering that occurs as children learn how to speak properly. Parents have no reason to worry because kids will eventually outgrow this stage after several months.
Until now, the exact cause of speech disfluency in children is still the subject of numerous studies. However, there are factors that may possibly trigger speech disorders in children such as genetics and the malfunction of the mechanisms responsible for speech production in the brain, nerves, and muscles.
Stammering in children becomes a cause for alarm when they fail to show signs of improvement after six months since the onset of stammering. The following are the symptoms every parent should watch out:
• Frequent repetition of a certain syllable (e.g. “Mom, I want some cho-cho-cho chocolates.”)
• Tendency to pronounce particular sounds in a lengthy way (e.g. “Ccccccan I wwwwatch TV?”)
• Substitution of vowels when repeating certain syllables. (e.g. “I will wuh-wuh-wuhsh my feet.”)
• Change of tone and pitch when the child gets stuck with a word
• Avoidance of speaking for fear of getting embarrassed