3 yr old started stuttering

JoifulApril 9, 2003

I am the grandmother of a darling 3 yr old little girl. She's extremely bright and up until recently, very articulate. Over the past month, she has started stuttering terribly. It's so hard to see her struggling to get her words out and she is very hard to understand.

My son and DIL are very concerned and are doing all the right things like not hurrying her or drawing attention to her stuttering. They took her to a speech therapist who felt she had moderate to severe stuttering. They are not going to use this therapist as she seems very stern and does not seem to relate well to children. They are now looking for another therapist.

Can any of you moms offer any advice?

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Did the pediatrician check her out for other medical causes to the problem?

Also, I sympathize with them about the therapist. We had to get family counseling to deal with some issues DD had after DH was in an accident last year and was left in a wheelchair for a few months and we had to bring family in to help.

The more I called and interviewed, the fewer I found that (a) specialized in families and (b) specialized in 5 years and younger.

So many relate to teens or eating disorder type issues and there are very few who specialize in the toddler and pre-K set.

Make sure you rule out medical causes, and then keep shopping until you find a speech therapist that specializes in the pre-K age group. There may be a stuttering/speech disorder support group in your area who can refer you to a more appropriate therapist.

Kudos to the parents and you for working on this before she starts school!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 7:49AM
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TREKaren, thanks for your comments. Yes, she has been seen by her pediatrician and he found nothing wrong. We are hoping that this is a temporary thing.
A friend of my DIL just told her that her child did the same thing. The stuttering lasted for 6 months and then stopped almost overnight.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2003 at 9:37AM
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All children stutter to some extent when learning to talk....their brain goes faster than their mouth. If you want to insure her having long term problems, call attention to it, get worried and take her to a speech therapist who is stern and unsympathetic.
Wendel Johnson, who wrote the book on stuttering, has been criticized and the institution where he worked sued by adults who were made into stutters so Dr Johnson could use them as examples.
Stutters are made, not born.....ignore it completely....never say "slow down" or in any way show that you notice her non-fluency.....and she'll be over it in a few months.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 11, 2003 at 9:47AM
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If she is becoming frustrated by her lack of articulation, you could suggest that she "sing it to you". I have heard that people who stutter have no problem singing.

It may be something that will get her over the hump- so to speak.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2003 at 9:46PM
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Stuttering is a complex behavior. A child talking to a baby or a dog, doesn't stutter, because the baby or the dog takes no notice over the fluency of their speech, so the child doesn't get tense and tighten up the muscles that cause speech hesitations and repititions. But when the listener expresses concern about the child's speech, then a more serious problem is created and the problem snowballs. The child tries to talk, perhaps trying to talk faster than his ability, the adult listener gets serious and says..."now just slow down and start over"...and the child sees the disapproval and stutters even more. So the adsult becomes more concerned and spends more time trying to keep the child from stuttering....even taking him to a doctor or a speech therapist who may make the matter worse because of an unsympathetic attitude.
By making a big deal out of her speech at 3 years......you will virtually insure she has a more serious fluency problem in a year......and even more serious in 2 years.
Speech therapy for stutterers is largely not going to cure the stuttering, but rather teach them coping mechanisms to deal with the problem.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 14, 2003 at 6:34PM
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NOt drawing attention to it is a good thing. Please only take this as advice from experince. She might feel like no one listens to her so she tries to get everything in very quickly while someone is paying attention. I personally had the problem. growing up I had an older sister (5 years) take took a lot of attention away from me. it was not done on purpose, my sister was just a more difficult kid then i was. So a lot of the time I would try to rush through what I need to say. Make sure that when she talks the individual she is talking to gives her their full attention or tells her that they can't listen to her right now and makes sure to go back to her later for a talk. to this day my mother doesn't really look at me when she talks and I hate it because I don't know if she is really listening or not. I hope it all works out!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 8:40AM
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Thanks everyone, for your thoughts. FYI, she is an only child (so far) and her parents and grandparents listen to her very carefully. We never draw attention to her stuttering and let her go at her own pace. She always receives our full attention.
I am praying that this stuttering will disappear as quickly as it started.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 9:14AM
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I am so happy to report that her stuttering has stopped after a few months. He speech is now perfect. From what we were told this is very common.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2004 at 10:15PM
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So glad to hear that!...It's what usually happens....IF you don't make a big deal out of a lack of fluency!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 11:09PM
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i have a 3 year old son who is very intelligent and brilliant.
he never stuttered. and then he just started stuttering on some of his words. do you think he is hearing someone at his preschool. is there cause for concern.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:53AM
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You mean he's "copying" someone else stuttering?
Not likely...

Stuttering is a very common phase that he'll probably outgrow in a few months if no one makes a big deal about it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:47PM
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Linda C. I am sure you have good intentions but waiting it out is not always the best idea. I left my toddlers stutter alone and it hasn't gone away. Shes been stuttering for about a year now. Maybe more. It's time to get her treatment.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 8:22AM
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Agreed April -- If stuttering continues beyond a few months, it IS time to seek a professional opinion. But a relatively short stuttering phase is not uncommon, and ost often resolves itself without intervention.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 10:01PM
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NO!! Surely you have all by now seen the movie "The King's Speech"? And seen how he was MADE into a stutterer.
Ignore it....if you ignore it it WILL go away! Sometimes it takes longer than a few months.....and sometimes there is someone interacting with the child who does the horrible.."Now slow down and concentrate" thing....but any child under say 7 or 8 needs no therapy for stuttering and any reliable therapist will simply tell you to ignore it. At 8 or so because he has not been allowed to not be tense, he may need therapy for coping.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 1:45PM
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My daughter has just turned 3 sh is so bright and was excellent at talking until a few days ago she started 2 stutter will she grow out of it or will she always have this problem ?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 9:47AM
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I also have a 3yo son who has a recent stuttering problem. It started this summer a few weeks after our DD was born. I also became a SAHM so he no longer attends daycare. The stuttering would only be for a word, usually when starting a sentence. It did get better and almost disappeard, but now it is back like a vengence. He stutters almost every word and you can tell it upsets him and he even states that he doesn't talk right. I try to tell him it's ok and we'll get through it, but I worry about him. It breaks my heart to see him struggle like this and I do make time for 'just him' time by playing one of his board games or storytime, etc. There has been no jealousy issues w/ our infant, in fact it's the opposite where he wants to help all the time. We will let him help with her, up to a point of course. And from what I've been reading it looks like there are differing opinions of either letting it go and hope that he grows out of it, or to taking him to a speech therapist. We have an appt for our DD at the end of the month for her 4mon check-up and will bring it up and see what he says. Until then we are being patient and praying.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 3:02PM
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I'm in my mid-50's, and I was a stutterer for my entire life, so I know how the children feel. I stuttered 5% of the time, due to a dental problem, but in my 30's ... I dated with a guy who stuttered 90% of the time. But he's more relaxed when he sings, so he can sing beautifully & fluently, but stutters badly when he talks, due to extreme nervousness. Also when he's tired at night, he stuttered the worst.

A speech-therapist would help a child to form a CALMING habit so he/she won't be nervous, and tense up their mouth-muscle, thus more inclined to stuttering. Being nervous before talking is a habit, and a speech-therapist would help a child to be less nervous before pronouncing words. Slowing down helps A LOT. Stutterers tend to talk too fast, then they stumble. I see that in myself, and my ex-boyfriend, and my 11-year old who talks too fast.

With me, it's a dental problem. My mouth was too small, so when the baby teeth, or adult teeth came in, the crowding impeded speech. My neighbor is smart for taking her children to a dental-specialist to solve that problem of jaw being too narrow, and NOT giving enough space for adult teeth to come in.

The emotion plays a BIG FACTOR, I wish I had access to a speech-therapist to help me calm down, before speaking. I had 8 older sisters who spoke fast & fluently, and I could not keep up with them, since I had a "mouth-full" of crowded teeth ... so I got nervous, thus started stuttering.

What helped me was my best friend in 3rd grade .. she was a speech-therapist & perfect model for me ... I copy-cat her slowing down, and pronouncing words distinctively. My stuttering lessened considerably after that. In my 30's, I had many root-canal surgeries of my two front teeth, that pulled a nerve of my front teeth. When I said any word with an "M", it pulled a painful nerve in the teeth, so I got nervous, and stuttered. As an adult, I taught myself to slow down in advance, before saying that, and it helped tremendously.

My kid at 11 years old, is growing 2 lower front-teeth and STUTTERS FOR THE FIRST TIME in her life, esp. at night, when she's tired, and her jaw is tensed. That baby tooth finally fell out, and no-more stuttering ... then another tooth became loose, and starts all over again. This time I'm less nervous, knowing that once the adult tooth is set in place, her speech is normal again.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:41AM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I stuttered as a child and it lasted a few years then went away...
My grandparents never seeked help for me so I really have no idea why though?
But I was a nervous child whom was afraid to talk in front of others...

I have a friend who stutters but he has some kind of health issue thats causing his...

This post was edited by jim1961 on Tue, Sep 2, 14 at 14:59

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 2:53PM
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My husband is right about loose baby teeth has nothing to do with our 11-year old daughter stuttering. She recently turned 12. She used to have a heaping plate of dried mango & pineapple & papaya before bed. That's too much sugar, so we switched to Jumbo raisins mix EVERYDAY for more than a year.

I watched in shock and despair as her speech declined, esp. before bed-time, right after her 1/2 cup of raisins. She stutters badly before bed-time, with scary twitching of the neck and jaw. She got angry since she could not control the spasm and twitching.

At first we thought her narrow jaw & loose baby teeth were the problem. Recently I bought ORGANIC grapes from Walmart for her lunch, and instead of raisins, I give her ORGANIC fig-bars. Stuttering gone, despite a loose side-tooth. She's fluent and talks non-stop before bedtime.

Thanks to a lady reporting the connection between stuttering and pesticides in food, I found this article in the news: "Landmark ruling on pesticides and farmers� health: Monsanto was found responsible for the injury to Paul Francois resulting from the inhalation of the pesticide, Lasso."

In 2004, Paul Francois, a farmer in the Charente area of France, was intoxicated by vapours of the herbicide Lasso Monsanto. He suffered nausea and fainting, and a multitude of other disorders requiring him to stop working for nearly a year: they included STUTTERING, dizziness, headache, and muscle disorders. in 2008. Paul Francis is now considered 50% disabled."

Grapes and strawberries have the most pesticides: "Grapes, raisins and sultanas may contain up to 27 different pesticides, according to an analysis carried out by Soil & Health, the Safe Food Campaign and Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa NZ."

Apple, grapes, and strawberries are most tainted with pesticides. Definition of pesticides include insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Considering that a kid's diet consisting of apple juice, raisin, and tainted produce ... will give rise to more stuttering. See below link for the effects of pesticides on other ailments that affect the central nervous system: Autism, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pesticides: Autism, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 10:08AM
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