Speech Problems: Normal Disfluency

Speech Problems: Normal Disfluency

Topic Overview

Normal disfluency is stuttering that begins during a child's intensive language-learning years and resolves on its own sometime before puberty. It is considered a normal phase of language development. About 75 out of 100 children who stutter get better without treatment.footnote 1

The most common normal disfluency in children younger than age 3 is the repetition of one-syllable words or parts of words, especially at the beginning of sentences ("I-I want that"). After age 3, children with normal disfluencies most often repeat whole words ("You-you-you") or phrases ("I see—I see—I see"). Other problems may include:

  • Hesitation with interjection. ("I played on the ... uh ... swing.")
  • Incomplete sentences with change of focus. ("My bear—the towel is dry.")

Symptoms may occur in phases. There may be periods of days or weeks when they occur frequently, and then almost disappear, only to begin again.

Children with normal disfluencies do not usually have physical symptoms, such as eye-blinking or obvious frustration. They do not try to avoid speaking or seem bothered by their speech. They may not even appear to notice.

Stuttering that follows the pattern of normal disfluency occurs only once in every 10 sentences or less.footnote 1 Many parents recognize these symptoms as a normal part of speech development.

If you have any concerns about your child's speech, talk with your child's doctor.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Guitar B, Conture EG (2007). The Child Who Stutters: To the Pediatrician, revised 4th ed. (Publication No. 23). Memphis: Stuttering Foundation of America. Also available online: http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Portals/english/0023tped.pdf.

Credits

Current as ofMarch 27, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.