Stuttering, also known as dysfluency, is a speech pattern marked by repetitions and pauses as well as prolonged sounds, words or phrases. Many children experience a period of normal dysfluency during a time when language is rapidly developing. They will likely stutter on the initiation of speech or when asking a question. They are typically unaware of and not bothered by their stuttering. One day, their stuttering may disappear as quickly as it came about. The old school of thought was to wait to see if stuttering lingered, if the child developed any secondary behaviors (facial grimacing, eye blinking, tension in face or body, tapping, etc.), if they became frustrated or if parents or pediatricians became concerned. Unfortunately, we do not know which children will “grow out of it” and which children will continue to stutter.
However, research has shown us that speech therapy can help to reduce severity of stuttering, or alleviate the condition completely, with early intervention. Weill Cornell Medicine specialists focus on treatment that reduces stuttering severity, reduces or eliminates secondary symptoms and encourages children to participate in social communication opportunities. When we provide our children with the skills to improve fluency, we gradually encourage them to approach communication and speaking situations with confidence.
- Family history of stuttering
- Stuttering for more than three-six months
- Delayed speech and language
- Related delays, including educational, emotional, psychological or physical delays
- Genetic defects
- Development of a consistent stuttering pattern
- Frustration with or awareness of dysfluency
We encourage the evaluation of any child with concerned parents, teachers or pediatricians. If therapy is deemed appropriate, we develop an individualized treatment plan that includes one-on-one therapy and either direct or indirect parental involvement (the extent of parental involvement depends largely on a child's age). Our experienced pediatric stuttering experts may recommend therapeutic treatments that include traditional methods such as stuttering modification and fluency shaping techniques or contemporary methods such as the Lidcombe Program. We proudly provide the best stuttering treatment techniques available, engaging children and seamlessly imparting the skills necessary for their daily lives.