Is Stuttering Normal for Toddlers and Can They Outgrow It?

Every parent wants to know as much as possible about every issue that their child might be facing, including stuttering. Although such speech disorders can persist into adulthood, it is quite normal for young children to experience similar, temporary difficulties while learning to speak. If the disorder persists, there are ways to manage it!

Happy toddler

How to Recognize Stuttering

Also known as stammering, this disorder causes disruptions in the fluency of speech. Those affected could have trouble with pronunciation and elongate or repeat words, syllables, or letters. The speech issue is commonly followed by physical ticks such as clenching fists, tremors of the jaw and lip, or rapid blinking. This type of fluency issue can intensify due to stress, anxiety, excitement, or feelings of being under pressure.

A depiction of stutter

Potential Causes

The causes of developmental stuttering are still being researched. So far, the suspected causes for it are abnormalities in speech motor control. Genetics also appear to play a part, as stammering tends to run in families.

Fluency toolbox for kids dealing with stuttering

There is also neurogenic stuttering that can result from causes other than developmental, such as a stroke or head injury. The least common is psychogenic stammering that develops after emotional trauma. However, in the case of very young children and toddlers, some speech-related difficulties are to be expected and not all of them are necessarily red flags.

Do Toddlers Outgrow Their Stutter

Toddler working with a coach to manage her stutter
As toddlers and children are learning to speak and developing fluency, it’s very common for them to repeat or prolong words and syllables. In many cases, these types of fluency disruptions are nothing to worry about and will be overcome in time. These are stutter-like behaviors that differ from the disorder itself. If the fluency issues persist past the age of 5 and are accompanied by physical ticks, stress, and frustration when speaking, it’s advised to consult with a specialist such as a speech-language pathologist or the family physician.