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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stuttering in Young Children

I'm convinced that the creator of the Looney Tunes characters was a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in a past life.  This week I’m are going to talk about sweet lovable Porky Pig.  Yes, you don't have to be an SLP to figure out that Porky has a stuttering problem. 

Now, we don't know the exact age of Porky so it is hard for me to say if it is just a normal dysfluent phase in his/her development or if in fact it is a true stuttering disorder.  If Porky is between the ages of 3-5, or thereabouts, I am going to say it is most likely a developmental phase and he should snap out of it. So parents of young children don't stress out about this.  The saying "never let them see you sweat" is good advice if you have a child who is "stuttering" and are younger than 6. 

Some things you can do are the same things that Porky's friends need to do. Here they are:

1.     Don't draw attention to the dysfluncies.
2.     Allow your child as much time as he/she needs to express themselves. 
3.     Don't interrupt them and "help" them get their words out.
4.     Be a good speaking role model. Speak slowly, don't interrupt others or allow others to interrupt you.
5.     Remain calm and do not let on that you are concerned over the dysfluncies, this will make your child anxious and could increase the dysfluncies.
6.     Make sure all caregivers are on the same page and understand how to react, or I guess I should really say, NOT react. 

Tune in next week when we will talk about another Looney Tunes character, maybe Tweety, or Sylvester, or Donald many characters, so many speech problems.....aaahhhhhh.

What are your specific questions about stuttering and if you are dealing with a true stuttering disorder?  Let me know.   

Picture credit:


  1. Thanks for this, Jennifer! My son who is now in first grade has had trouble with reading and writing because he has had some speech delays. He doesn't stutter, but it is tough to watch him struggle with reading.

    1. Thanks for your reply! If your kiddo is struggling with reading and writing to the point of major frustration and has an IEP, you may want to call an IEP meeting to discuss possible accommodations to be added to the IEP. I frequently
      put in accommodations to reduce number of spelling words per week, have tests read aloud, and in some cases we add additional special education support if the speech impairment is really taking a toll on progress in reading. There are
      lots of things that can be done to reduce frustration as they are learning to read and write/spell at the same time they are working so hard to learn to produce their sounds correctly. In some cases I recommend testing to rule out/ or look for a learning disability in reading/written expression (better safe
      than sorry). When the speech delay and learning disability coexist it is very important to have that information when planning for intervention because there needs to be a strong emphasis on phonological awareness skills. My oldest daughter struggles with reading, she is in first grade, so I am going to request testing when she starts 2nd grade so we can get an early jump on this if one shows up. Best wishes to your little one, it is very hard to watch them struggle. - Jennifer

  2. So, true, Jennifer! My littlest went through this last year (she was just turning 4). It was quite pronounced just before and during the summer, but by the time she went back to school last September, it was pretty much gone. Her preschool teacher had me worried and suggested we call an SLP. I did some research first and found some of the same info you shared. We waited it out, were very patient, and it went away. I wish I had had the benefit of your wisdom this time last year! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Kathi,
      Thanks for sharing your story, so glad your little one is doing great. Sounds like you had more than enough knowledge and did just the right thing. (But thanks so much for your kind words.)What a great Mommy! Teachers panic often, they have the best of intentions, but they tend to over refer to SLPs when a student is "stuttering" no matter how much we try to reassure them and educate them. Usually it is because the teachers love those kids just like they are their own and want everything to be perfect for them. You did exactly the right
      thing, thanks for being so patient and calm as your child worked through that!
      Jennifer. (Were you an SLP in a past life? Hmmmmm........or maybe you are a future SLP?)