3 year old with sudden severe stutter - please help, worried sick :(

(34 Posts)
1fish2fish Sat 18-May-13 22:41:11

My 3.9 year old son suddenly began stuttering 7 weeks ago. Literally overnight, he just woke up one morning with it, having always been a great little talker. We have had no upset or stress that could have caused it. Initially it was an ordinary repetition stutter and wasn't so bad. Then it almost went away and then came back but it had changed. It's now developed into a 'block' where he pauses and takes big audible breaths for upto 10 seconds before eventually the sentence comes out nice and smooth. He opens his mouth quite wide and his face contorts a bit and to be honest it looks awful, it's breaking my heart to see and hear him like this. It's only been a week since it has become this bad, and the block happens before I wold say 50% or more of all his sentences. I am going out of my mind with worry now, seeing the doctor Monday and SLT Tuesday. I am following all the advice to not let him see I am worried, to give him time and basically just carry on as normal but am finding it so hard as I am wracked with worry. The 'block' seems to be unusual, anybody else had this?

Charlie01234 Sat 18-May-13 22:45:44

Hi. Both my boys did this. Both were good early talkers who suddenly started to stutter. I was really worried like you but HV said not to worry as it was quite comm

Charlie01234 Sat 18-May-13 22:46:09

Sorry posted too early. Quite comm

Charlie01234 Sat 18-May-13 22:47:37

Oh god ...... Common because their little brains were working faster than their mouths could. Try not to worry and I hope all turns out well when you visit docs x

headinhands Sat 18-May-13 22:48:11

Don't panic! Dd did this at the same age. Just started repeating initial sound 10+ times. Having a conversation took some time smile. She grew out of it over a a few weeks/months. I self referred her to Speech and Language, most areas let you do this. By the time the appt came through it had cleared up and the person we saw said it's not uncommon for children to develop dramatic and sudden stutters at this age that resolve naturally over time.

foolonthehill Sat 18-May-13 22:48:53

It's really common, it usually means their brain is working faster than their mouth can. Sometimes giving the child something to hold and fiddle with "releases" the words.

It's amazing to have a SLT appointment so soon

BreeVanDerTramp Sat 18-May-13 22:49:31

DS did this around 3.5, he came out if it within 4 months.

He still stumbles over words when he is very tired, now age 5.

1fish2fish Sat 18-May-13 23:00:54

Thanks for your quick replys. I know a slight stutter is really common, but its the nature of this that is freaking me out, the fact that it is no longer a repetition stutter, but a block instead, with so much struggle in his face and upto a 10 second pause. Having googled it, it seems like it would be classed as 'severe stuttering' has anybody else's LO had quite an alarming bad stutter like this? And grown out of it? Thanks

foolonthehill Sat 18-May-13 23:04:49

Yes, exactly the same...nothing coming out at all and then a sudden rush at the words. Emotion, tiredness and hunger all seemed to make it worse.

foolonthehill Sat 18-May-13 23:06:41

it may be that the stutter is being combined with a "tic"...the facial contortion before speaking...this is what I thought on watching my son (who was a late talker anyway) it passed quite quickly fortunately.

hazeyjane Sat 18-May-13 23:07:47

Dd2 had a similar block, but also repetitive stammering of the beginning of the word. It started to really upset her, and we have a family history of stammering, so had a SALT referral.

Sh saw her SALT for about a year and a half, and did something called the Lidcombe programme, which is a method taught to the parents.

It was very successful with dd2, and she barely stammers at all now (she is 6 and was 2.5 when she started stammering), sometime when she is tired or anxious, and she will say, 'oh I was a bit 'bumpy' then' and then she will say it 'smoothly'.

1fish2fish Sat 18-May-13 23:08:09

Thanks foolonthehill. Did it just resolve itself with your LO? Haven't got an actual SLT referall appointment yet btw, just going to the drop in session on tuesday

PavlovtheCat Sat 18-May-13 23:11:20

DD still does this now aged 6 after She went through a phase of doing it lots and I worried at first that she had stopped knowing how to speak. Now I realise she just talks so fast she forgets what she is saying/going to say. She does exactly as you say, stops talking, screws up her face and struggles to find the words. Complete silence sometimes. She gets the words out in the end though, and it's not very often now, but when she was around 4 it was very pronounced, although not 50% of the time. Worse when tired.

DS also does this. Not as often as your little boy, but when it does happen, it happens with this severity.

foolonthehill Sat 18-May-13 23:12:44

these are the things that are looked for in assessing problems with speech:
1)Stuttering that becomes more frequent and gets worse with time
2)Stuttering that is accompanied by body or facial movements
3)Speech that is especially difficult or strained
4)Avoiding situations that require talking
5)Vocal tension that results in rising pitch while talking
6)Stuttering that continues after a child has turned 5 years old

it is good to see a professional but you may be asked to go away and observe for a few months as it is a relatively new for him and has changed recently.

1fish2fish Sun 19-May-13 07:58:37

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm going to have to find a way to stop this worry! It doesn't seem to be bothering him at the mo, he is still generally as happy and smiley as he ever was. Those that have LOs who have had this for a while, do you find it comes and goes and they have good weeks and bad weeks with it? DS has only been bad with it for a week.

SilveryMoon Sun 19-May-13 08:01:39

My ds2 went through this when he was 3. I was reassured here that it was perfectly normal.
He is 4 now and has grown out of it.

Millais Sun 19-May-13 08:20:05

Yes, one of my ds s had a very severe stammer from aged 3- he had therapy Lipscombe and traditional SLT. It got so bad at one point that he was unable to say anything and he stopped talking. We think now that he was badly bullied, taught by staff who just didn't "get it" despite our intervening and I wish we'd taken him out of there.
When he went to secondary school it started to improve. 4 years on he still occasionally stammers but is not worried by it, takes part in major interschool debates, has acted in plays etc. He sings a lot and the relaxation techniques taught by the choir have helped. I used to be so worried about it but now I look at him and see such a confident boy.
We were very lucky with the therapy. We paid at first but then he accessed NHS therapy and we could just contact them when I felt he needed more.
There was a lot of emphasis on slow and smooth talking but not telling him to slow down (that doesn't sound right?) and playing games with speaking. His NHS therapist was amazing.

Millais Sun 19-May-13 08:23:13

Sorry , that sounds rather negative! It did go through patches at first- I do have to say it got worse at around 8 years old but that was due to the school issues.
Things we had to do at home were give him time to speak without all his siblings interrupting. Not finish his sentences for him. He had a relaxation cd to listen to and also we encouraged him to talk about the stammer so he could identify his difficult times and also when he was speaking smoothly.

BobbinUp Sun 19-May-13 08:31:39

This is really interesting. My ds is a very early talker who has spoken amazingly well until this last week when he has started stuttering. He turned 2 yesterday and now sounds like the bloke off Vicar of Dibley! I am hoping its his mouth and brain not keeping together and it's good to see others have experienced the same. OP its always so hard not to worry especially when things come on so fast!

foolonthehill Sun 19-May-13 21:40:33

...with children there is always another thing to worry about!!

Pre-school stutters, stammers and stops are all very, very common. Of course a few go on to have problems later on huge numbers don;t

Tirednedss, hunger and stress all seem tom ake it worse

foolonthehill Sun 19-May-13 21:41:06

apparently tiredness, hunger and stress also affect typing!

Willdoitinaminute Sun 19-May-13 22:08:56

DS started to stutter at this age but not at the beginning of words, he had trouble finishing words. Also going from yr2 to yr 3 suddenly started to add urm between each word while reading out loud. Teacher solved problem. After reading out a passage she then asked him to read it again without the urms. Second go was word perfect.

BreeVanDerTramp Tue 21-May-13 15:38:15

How did SALT go fish?

1fish2fish Mon 27-May-13 15:30:36

Well just to update he has been referred for speech therapy and due to the blocking, he apparently goes to the top of the waiting list for an appointment, within 2 weeks she said. Amazingly, last Monday he came home from playgroup just not stuttering, AT ALL. It just went away and his speech was not only near perfect for a few days but was noticeably more advanced, new words and bigger sentences. It was obvious he had took a big leap. Just yesterday tho, the stuttering came back and is now pretty bad again but it has turned back into a repetition stutter, he is saying erm erm erm a lot which is new. It's really strange how it keeps changing and evolving.

1fish2fish Mon 27-May-13 15:33:51

I think I am less worried this time, it does seem to be linked with big changes in him. And the repetition stutter isn't nearly as difficult to listen to as the blocking, it was breaking my heart to see him doing that, the really big blocks where he opened his mouth and contorted his face and nothing came out was really scary and heartbreaking to see.

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