Hi ladies - this is my first ever post on MN so hope I'm posting this in the right place - please bear with me!! My gorgeous 3 yr old ds talks lots (!!), has a good vocabulary and is generally pretty articulate for his age - but, he has what I would call an occasional stammer. He doesn't do it every time he speaks and it doesn't really limit his ability to get his message across. If anything it seems to be when he's enthusiastic or excited about sharing some news or answering a question etc. I have done a bit of browsing on the Internet about stammering and I'm wondering if it's related to development of new vocabulary - it seems to come and go a bit, but I'm not sure. To be honest I've been pushing it to the back of my mind, thinking he'll more than likely grow out of it but they mentioned it at a recent parent consultation at nursery and have recommend a referral to a speech therapist. I'm fine with this - especially given the waiting list - but it has got me wondering whether I should be more concerned about it. Has anyone else got any experience of stammering in this age? Did you dcs grow out of it? Have you been to see a speech therapist? Any experiences or thoughts would be very welcome! Thanks for reading!
My DS went through a period of stammering at this age. I was really worried about it - it seemed to come on out of the blue and was really noticeable, particularly when he was tired (usually at bedtime). His playschool mentioned it to me and suggested I try to ignore it and if it persisted we could refer him for speech therapy. I was amazed how many other mums I know had had the same problem (particularly with boys). Anyway, it stopped as quickly as it had started, before he'd had to be referred. I believe it is a very common stage at this age and can be related to brains working quicker than mouths!
Anyway, just to reassure you - hopefully he'll grow out of it quickly and try not to worry!
Dd had a very pronounced stammer, she was a great talker from a very young age, and has always had (and still has!) tons to say. We were referred for speech therapy, because it started to upset her, and she would say, 'I can't talk mummy' and get very frustrated, we also have a few family members with a stammer, and it can run in families. She had weekly SALT for a year.
The SALT taught us something called The Lidcombe Programme, which was great. Her stammer is almost non existent, and now only crops up when she is very tired or anxious, but if it appears again, we start doing our 'talk time'(something from the programme), it has been great.
I guess if you get a referral, and wait and see, it might have gone by the time the appointment comes round, and if not then the initial assessment will look at whether it is a developmental thing or something that may be more ingrained.
DS went through exactly the same between about 3.5 and 4. It came and went in phases but was at its worst at about 3.9. That was when he started to get upset by it because he couldn't say what he was trying to say.
We looked into SALT, but by the time we got round to getting the appointment, the stammer had gone entirely (never to return).
A nursery teacher friend of mine at the time said that it is really common - particularly in boys and particularly when they are desperate to say something. It's a bit like too many people rushing to get out of a room at the same time and getting stuck in the doorway.
Thanks SO much to you all for your replies! It's so helpful and reassuring to hear other people's experiences and especially positive given that you are all saying your dcs have come through the stammering - with or without apiece therapy input. It is a worry - and sad to see my little man struggling to get a sentence our sometimes but thankfully he hasn't once commented on it so I'm hoping he's blissfully unaware, which has got to be a positive! He definitely does it when he's anxious to get something particularly interesting out. I wonder if he does it more at nursery where he's less confident/comfortable too?
The programme mentioned by someone (sorry I've forgotten who and on phone so can't scroll up!!) sounds amazing and so pleased its worked such wonders with your dd - I will be googling that!! We will be following up speech therapy referral but waiting list is massive so not expecting appointment anytime soon - figure its better to be in system in case it dies turn out to be ongoing prob.
Interesting that several people are saying its more prevalent in boys at a certain age (my dams age coincidentally!?) - I wonder what the science is behind that?
Thanks again to you all for your replies. I wasn't sure I'd get any as it was my first ever post. X
A lot of children this age go through a stage of stammering. It's called 'normal non fluency'. It's likely to be due to a mismatch between what he is trying to do ie communicate with a wider range of people/use harder vocabulary/more complex sentence structure and what he is capable of (co-ordination, confidence etc).
It is very likely he will just grow out of it in the next 6 months but it wouldn't hurt to seek a referral to speech therapy. They would initially give you advice about the best ways to support him. Specific programmes like Lidcombe would come after this.
In the meantime-
Dont interrupt him midflow- getting started is often hardest
Don't ask him to repeat stammered words
Don't tell him to speak slowly but slow your own speech and his should naturally match your pace
Reduce questions as much as poss. Make statements instead eg I bet you had a good day at nursery. I expect you had a nice healthy snack etc
Don't force him to say please or thank you/perform. Say these for him for now.
If he mentions his speech say something like 'yes that was a bit bumpy, we all find it hard to talk sonetimes'. Don't bring it up yourself though unless he does.
Make sure family are not correcting
Keep normal eye contact (some people tend to avert their gaze)
Be aware that if he is tired/ill/upset/excited he may stammer more. Make sure he gets enough sleep and try not to lead too hectic a life. Eg get bags ready night before so less hectic on morning.
Hope this helps. The British Stammering Association have good info.
NHS speech therapists can be accessed via your GP or HV. Most areas also accept referrals direct from parents.
Independent speech therapists should be a member of ASLTIP, there website is 'Help with Talking'
Wow! Amazing advice thanks Cashmere! It's really great to have some practical steps we can take straightaway to try and help the little man! If I had to put money on it I'd say it was a developmental thing but we shall do all we can to support him, follow up the speech therapy referral and see what happens. Thanks to you all for your thoughts - very much appreciated - and if anyone wants to share experiences of dealing with stammering that would be cool.
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