Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Development of stuttering

        When does a child's normal struggle with talking develop into stuttering?

        Many children stutter and stumble on words as they learn language skills. They might repeat words and phrases or use the word “and” repeatedly to string together thoughts. That kind of speech pattern is normal and usually resolves as the child becomes more fluent and expressive.

        Parents should suspect a problem with stuttering if the child:

        • Repeats parts of a word (mo-mo-mo-mommy).

        • Repeats a specific sound more than three times (b-b-b-bacon).

        • Prolongs sounds longer than a second (ssssssoccer).

        • Struggles to get words out.

        If you suspect your child is a stutterer, find a qualified speech pathologist to help diagnose and offer treatments, and work with the child' teachers, coaches, friends and relatives to help the child feel relaxed, accepted and capable.

        “A Guide for Parents of Children Who Stutter” booklet is $1 from the National Stuttering Project, 5100 E. La Palma Ave., Suite 208, Anaheim Hills, CA, 92807 or call (800) 364-1677.

        Therapy in Action: The School-Age Child Who Stutters is a 38-minute video tape for parents, teachers and speech-language pathologists. It's $5 from the Stuttering Foundation of America, P.O. Box 11749, Memphis, TN, 38111-0749 or call (800) 992-9392.

        Sue MacDonald


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