top of page

Call one of our national lines now:

Stuttering at Age 3

Emotional vs. Neurological

Parents who witness their three-year-old child trying to speak and unable to get words out are definitely going through an unpleasant experience. The question is whether it is considered stuttering.

In the past, stuttering was attributed not to a disorder in speech production but to an emotional difficulty causing the child to stutter.

After countless studies, researchers concluded that it stems from an organic neurological failure, not an emotional one. For this reason, emotional and psychological treatments are not the answer to the actual source of stuttering but only to the emotional problems and accompanying side effects. The way to solve the problem begins first with the speech itself. This requires the successful treatment program developed at the Dr Fluency Institute, which combines treating the underlying issues while giving the tools for regular speech and instilling confidence a PWS lacks, thus alleviating the emotional difficulties involved in speaking.

When is it a Speech Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)?

Dr Fluency Institute experts explain that between the ages of 2 and 5, children who have already started speaking fluently will get stuck in the middle of a word or sentence, lengthen certain syllables, and may add words or sounds. These characteristics are not always a disorder of speech fluency. Sometimes, it is a stage in natural brain and speech development.

So, when is it classified as a speech fluency disorder? When there is a gap between understanding and thinking and the child doesn't always manage to choose the right words, it is not necessarily a fluency disorder. We suspect a speech fluency disorder if he has difficulty pronouncing words that do not need to be thought about in advance or repeats syllables more than necessary to remember a word. The child knows what he wants to say, but it just doesn't come out. He gets stuck, starts stuttering, and loses efficient communication. This difficulty can often be accompanied by emotional disturbance and feelings of shame, pressure, and confusion that cause the child to stutter even more.

Dr. Fluency's Recommendation

At the Dr Fluency Institute, we tell parents in this situation to support the child, not make it difficult for them to pronounce the words, not demand that they pronounce them correctly (because they are probably not able to at this stage), and to compliment them on any success. Any application of pressure and reward for speaking correctly and the like will make them feel that they are being criticized and that there are expectations. This will often be the cause of his inability to speak. Putting pressure of any kind on a child who has difficulty speaking is a bitter mistake that can only exacerbate the problem.

When stuttering persists beyond age 4, a speech fluency disorder can already emerge, so it is possible to start treating it immediately. However, the standard treatment method of the Dr. Fluency Institute is unsuitable for children under 6. Still, there is another method between ages 4 and 6; you can get details about this by scheduling a consultation with an Institute representative.

5% of Children Develop Speech Disfluency Before Age 3!

Five percent of 3-year-old children will develop speech fluency disorders at one point or another, but in 80% of cases, the stuttering goes away on its own without any treatment. So, when a 3-year-old child starts stuttering, it is advised to wait because it most likely won't require any intervention. Of course, even during this period, it is recommended to follow the above advice. Only after the age of 4, if the stuttering continues, should you contact the Dr Fluency Institute to consult on the matter and determine a diagnosis.

So, how do you overcome stuttering?

To overcome stuttering, one must go through a rehabilitation process of learning how to control the speech system -- in essence, starting anew -- and not let dysfluency dictate how speech is produced, what is said, and overall quality of life.

You can hear more about the subject in the fascinating lecture we give as part of our compatibility test.

bottom of page