3 year old with sudden severe stutter - please help, worried sick :((34 Posts)
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?
My son is almost 4, has had a stutter on and off for 18 months. We had general therapy and he did get better. At one point he was throwing his arms in the air when he started a sentence to force the word out. It eventually went away for 4 months but has one back and is getting worse. He is starting to use his arms again and jump in the air when trying to get a word out. We are going to therapy again this week and may start Lidcombe. I was just wondering how your child was going I or if anyone else has had such events. So so worried!
I fully support Hattiehoo's comments on the Lidcombe programme. We decided not to wait (started about 4-5 months after stammer initially began). After 14 months or DS was stammer free. Three years on, he is still stammer free.
Hi, I wonder if there are any updates on this thread? My son (just turned 2) started stammering quite severely almost 3 months ago (repetitions, prolongations, blocks). He has since been going through cycles of fluency and disfluency. It has been really stressful for both him and me.
Thank you so much Hattiehoo for your post. I have to say, I did chuckle a little at the thought of 35 goes saying knickers... (It is a very important word, of course...!) And great to know that you valued the Lidcombe program so much. I have found someone for my own son and although via Skype (as we are in Singapore for a the year) I hope that we can make progress that way. Thank you though - these posts make me feel a lot better
I have only just seen this post, but wanted to add a recommendation for the Lidcombe Programme of treatment. It is true that many children do grow out of their stammers, but apparently if they are going to do so, it is usually within 6 months and almost always within one year. My own DC are 15 and 13 and both had the most chronic stammers. My son had the secondary characteristics of blinking and even smacked his mouth. Eventually he just became very quiet. It started suddenly at about 2.5 and within 3 weeks had become very severe. After a bit of research, we began the Lidcombe Programme with him and within 6 months he was fluent. My Dd then started stammering and if anything her stammer was even worse although she was less upset about it than my son. We followed the programme and she also achieved fluency. Neither has ever relapsed( following the maintenance programme is very important) and they have little recollection of having stammered.
We made the decision to start therapy rather than wait six months because of the distress my son experiencing. If your Dcs aren't in distress then waiting six months is probably a good thing, but crucially the treatment should be begun by the age of 5 for best results.
I hope this helps, it is such an upsetting thing to watch your child suffer, but it is treatable. I remember how devastated I was to hear that my DD had the second worst stammer the therapist had heard in 20 years ( her percentage of stuttered syllables was at 20 percent when 10 is considered severe). She once had 35 goes at saying the word knickers! Now at 13 though, there is not a trace. It was hard work,but definitely worth it.
Hi 1Fish2fish - I have been trawling the web and found your post - and thought, that's JUST like my son... His 'symptoms' (for want of a better word) sound exactly like your child's... I saw that you last posted in May, so was wondering how he is getting on now?
My son has only been stuttering for 6 weeks but it feels like forever.. Plus we have stuttering in the family (gah).
Thanks for the reply Twerking. Have read up quite a lot and been following the advice - I think he's a bit less bothered about it now; still aware, but just finding it a bit pesky rather than getting upset. Haven't got on the list for SALT yet as it's all still so recent a development and I wanted to give him time to resolve it himself, but I think I will give the HV a call tomorrow and get the details for self-referral. His current nursery keyworker did a one-to-one with him and found no probs (although she did it after nap time, so he wasn't either excitable or tired!), and his childminder has been looking out for it and hasn't seen any indication of it. His first keyworker from the baby room at nursery (whom he loves dearly) was babysitting for us on Saturday night and was looking out for it because she knew how worried I am. She could hear it, and wondered if it's just because he's so excited about telling us what he's been doing outside of the home that he just gets carried away and 'stuck'. Thanks again for the advice!
golga are u getting SALT? I'd recommend if he's aware of it to refer yourself as it take take a while. Just cancel it if it resolves in the mean time. Very young children like your DS often stammer but blocking and awareness are not as common so it should be taken seriously but only because its so treatable at his age so its best to get in early.
Read the stammering advice online things like dont tell them to stop and take a breath or anything. Using the appropriate language if he wants to talk about it etc.
Fish how is your DS getting on now? My DS is 2.3 and his nursery say he's a very advanced talker. He started mild stammering on initial letters a few weeks ago, but it's gradually got worse and this week we've seen severe blocking (10+ attempts at getting the words out - random words, often in the middle of sentences) on a regular basis, probably also 50% of the time. Much worse when he's excited or tired. My main concern is that he's noticed and is getting upset about it, pressing his hand to his mouth and looking so distressed. It's really so upsetting. Trying so hard not to react, but worried he can see my distress. I know it'll probably be a phase but just posting for some reassurance, I suppose!
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.
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.
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.
apparently tiredness, hunger and stress also affect typing!
...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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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'.
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.
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