Look for Risk Factors:
- a family history of stuttering
- stuttering that has continued for 6 months or longer
- presence of other speech or language disorders
- strong fears or concerns about stuttering on the part of the child or the family
No single factor can be used to predict whether a child will continue to stutter. The combination of these factors can help SLPs determine whether treatment is indicated.
Warning Signs for Persistent Stuttering from StutteringHelp.org:
- A parent, sibling, or other family member who still stutters
- Stuttering starts after age 3 ½
- Stuttering has been occurring for at least 6 months
- Preschooler is a male
- The child has other speech sound errors or trouble being understood
- The child’s language skills are advanced, delayed, or disordered
How Long to Wait
Mark Onslow of the Australian Stuttering Research Centre recommends that the speech therapist should monitor the child for signs of natural recovery for about 6 months but no longer. Onslow explains that other reasons a speech therapist may want to begin therapy sooner include:
- the child becomes distressed about the stuttering
- the stuttering is causing social problems or psychological issues
How to Stop Stuttering in Preschoolers, What Therapy is Best?
Although there have been many different types of stuttering therapy over the years, a systematic review in 2006 by Bothe, et. al. found that the response-contingency approach was most effective treatment approach for children who stutter.