3 year old with sudden severe stutter - please help, worried sick :((40 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?
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!
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.
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!
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Hi, I posted a thread about this just a few weeks ago. My 2 and a half year old daughter who is an excellent talker woke one morning doing all that you describe very severely. I was really panicking too but HV and a friend who is an SLT advised me that it is very very common in the under 5s as their brains skip ahead of their mouths for a while. I was advised not to ever finish her sentences, don't copy her or even acknowledge it and wait. I did all of this and within 10 days it went away as quickly as it came. Really awfully stressful though and I feel your stress - I'm sure you will be reassured by your SLT but I'm sure it will pass.
Hey! I know this is an old thread but I found these comments so helpful when I was going through something similar that I wanted to leave a comment for other parents who might be going through a similar thing!
My son aged 2y8m has an excellent vocabulary for his age. We notice one a Tuesday that his words had expanded a lot and thought he must be having a period of language development. Anyway woke up on the Friday morning and he had developed a stutter - it started as prolongations and repititions at the beginning of words AND mid sentence - on the Saturday it was so bad that he started to whisper because he just could not get the words out - this went on for 2 weeks and I was very upset - I cried a lot - spoke to the dr and health visitor who weren't much help. - looked at forums and other parents were very re assuring! -anyway another week passed and it got very severe - he started to sound like he had a problem in his brain he literally could not get one word out - he started moving his head around and shouting to try to force the words out - he also was covering his mouth with his hands and having blocks and giving up. It was very sad. -anyway another week has passed and I'm pleased to say that it's almost gone (4 weeks in total) I mean he still does a bit of it maybe once every 10 sentences but it's definitely a lot better. I just wanted to write this so that other parents might feel some re-assurance at a scary time.
This thread - albeit an old one - has helped me greatly! My daughter turned 3 in Jan and she has been stuttering to varying degrees for about 5 weeks.. Everybody said wait for 6 weeks before going to SALT - but reading this it seems it can take much longer.
If you're still on mumsnet 1fish2fish... I wonder how your son is now?
Hi both my boys developed a stutter about 3 years of age. I brought them to specch & language therapy, its v common especially with boys, they both overcame it in a few weeks though. Im a naturally very fast speaker (everything i my life is rushed & in a hurry !). Therapist made me aware of this & to try & slow down a bit when speaking, especially to my boys when they had the stutter. Also said that its common for people to say to others who are stuttering, things like : 'calm diwn, relax, take your time, start again, etc, or to finish their sentences. She said not to do this as it only draws their attention to the fact that they have a problem. Just let them finish in their own time. Hope thibgs improve.
I just wanted to post again with an update (in case it helps other parents going through the same thing) I last posted in January and said after 4 weeks it was going.. it didn't go, it got better temporarily and then came back again and then went again. It seems to come and go every few weeks, 3 weeks good and then 2 weeks bad. The bad times seem to get worse each time . We have had 3 months of speech therapy but not intensive because they don't want to draw too much attention to it at this stage, this lay 2 weeks have been particularly bad again with eye movements and facial expressions along with moving his arms about a lot and covering his mouth and whispering. He will often stutter at the beginning of sentences, during and at the end with some blocking :-( so I would say that's severe. I'm much calmer this time because I know that it does come and go. He is 3yr5mo now and this started 9 months ago. Il keep you posted.
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