What is developmental stuttering?
Typically children aged 2 to 5-years-old go through periods of developmental disfluencies. These stuttering events are normal and should not be of concern. You may hear your child repeat phrases, words, or syllables 1-2 times (ex. “I see…I see…I see the dog” or “I I I want to go outside” or even “I wa-want to play”). These typical disfluencies could be increased due to excitement or nervousness. If there is a family history of stuttering then please monitor your child’s disfluencies closely.
When to reach out to a speech therapist
You should seek out the guidance of a speech language pathologist if your child’s disfluencies appear more severe. If your child is repeating phrases, words, syllables, or sounds numerous times, then this could be a sign of true stuttering (ex. “I I I I I want to to to go outside” or “Mmmmm-my name, mmm-my name, mmm-my name is Sally”). These stuttering events may come along with visible tension in your child’s face or you may see other body parts becoming tense, such as the neck and shoulders.
What is a “block”?
A child with a true stuttering disorder may also present with “blocks”. A “block” is when your child’s mouth is open attempting to say a sound, but no sound or air is released. Pay attention for these events as they are a sign your child may need help to work on these difficulties.
Take a look at this article from The Stuttering Foundation for more information about developmental stuttering vs. true stuttering.