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Toddler stuttering

(33 Posts)
Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 17:43:05

My DS was 2 in March. He was an early talker and has been speaking in sentences since a year old.
Recently he has begun to stutter. I wasn't overly concerned at first as he was just occasionally repeating the first word of a sentence a few times or the first sound of the word.
The stutter seemed to go, but the last couple of weeks it has returned and is so much worse. He has started shouting when he stutters as if he's trying to shout the word out. Last night was one of the worst stutters so far. He got stuck saying "I, I, I, I, I.... " for ages then just sighed and shook his head. I told him it was OK and he could try again of he wanted and he said "Mummy do it", which is his go to phrase for anything he's struggling to do. It broke my heart...

Is this just a normal phase that toddlers go through, or should I be concerned?

blamethecat Fri 01-Jul-16 17:54:43

I am no expert but my Son did the same thing at roughly the same age, it did seem to be a phase and timed with learning lots of new words, he has just turned 3 and very rarely does it now but as with anything keep an eye on it and speak to the HV or GP if it worries you or continues.

CatsCantFlyFast Fri 01-Jul-16 17:57:02

My daughter (2.2months) just started stuttering within the last month. Everything you have written applies to her in terms of how it started, her shouting now, and the fact she was an early speaker.
I had a phone consultation with a speech therapist who said leave it 3 or 4 months as it's likely to pass - it's often just that their brains are processing more than they can handle at this kind of age.

Tollergirl Fri 01-Jul-16 18:12:30

Hi Mother - I'm a retired speech and language therapist and there can be a period of what we used to call "normal non-fluency" around this age especially if their language is quite advanced for their age. I would carry on as usual and monitor things - it may well pass. I would try not to make a big deal out of it - as Notwithout says it can be that their motor system can't quite keep up with their brain development. If in a few months there is no change I would suggest referring to a SLT - in some areas you can self refer - there may be a bit of a wait - if it is the beginning of stuttering proper then it pays to start therapy sooner rather than later - but having said that do try not to worry, he sounds quite advanced language wise so its quite likely that his brain is working faster than his motor system can manage.

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 18:37:24

Thank you for your responses. It's very reassuring to know that it's more common than I thought (I'd mentioned it to a few friends with children of a similar age and they all looked a bit confused )
It's quite interesting to note that there seems to be a correlation between early talkers and stuttering as a toddler.
It's especially reassuring to hear from your experience Toller We don't make a big deal when he's stuttering. We make sure to let him finish his sentence/word when he's able to and are trying to slow our speech pattern down a bit when we are talking with him. My main concern was that it's beginning to upset him. I've heard him muttering to himself "it's not working" a few times after he's struggled to get his words out. If he switches to whispering he can usually talk fluently again... is this typical?
We have his health and development assessment with the HV on Tuesday, so I will certainly mention it to them.

umizoomi Fri 01-Jul-16 18:51:36

My DS did this at 2.9. I thought it was a phase but then when he didn't stop I went to a Speech therapist (you can self refer)

He carried on for ages. It's more common in boys and runs in families. They may also suggest to check his hearing. General advice is:

Don't tell them to slow down or repeat.
Speak slowly and clearly yourself
Don't ask multiple questions at once eg do you want a drink? What would you like and would you like some food also? One thing at a time.
When they have said what they have, repeat it back properly eg Where where where is my book? Repeat slowly where is my book?
If they start I I I I and then get stuck say I?.... And see if it prompts fluency.

I would see someone as it's upsetting him. I was told you can self-refer to SALT no need for doc or HV

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 19:43:30

Thank you for the advice umi
How old is your DS now, and did the speech therapy help?

carrotcakecupcake Fri 01-Jul-16 19:50:27

DS 2.5 started with a stutter about a month ago, apparently it's really common at this age and everything I've read has said exactly what PP have said. I find DS is worse in the evenings and when he's tired. Our childminder (from experience with her son) said not to worry at the moment, and if it does last a little too long a few sessions with a speech therapist can work wonders

Emus Fri 01-Jul-16 20:00:49

Yep, happened here too and freaked me me out as it literally came on over night. He couldn't even say simple things like "I want a drink" because the "iiiiii" bit went on for so long. Thankfully it lasted exactly a week and disappeared as soon as it started.

AppleMagic Fri 01-Jul-16 20:04:37

Dd stuttered for a bit at the same age. She was an early talker so it's interesting to hear that can be a factor. Ds is the same age now and hasn't stuttered but has been much slower to speak in proper sentences.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 01-Jul-16 20:06:16

Dd is 2.6 and she is a very good talker but has just started to stutter. It's interesting to hear it's often a phase at this stage.

Icecappedpinetrees Fri 01-Jul-16 20:17:19

Early talker here too. He went through a stage of saying "mum, mum, mummy, mummy, mum, mum, mummy.....then finish his sentence! It was like he was using that as his thinking time and he was using that as a "holding" phrase to keep me engaged (he knows I always listen anyway!!) it gave him enough time to arrange the rest if the words in his head before speaking.

And yes there are definitely times when you hear them stuttering, pausing, rewording and sighing. It's hard work for them!! I swear there have been times when I know what DS is trying to say and he is desperately trying to find the words or the right sentence structure and all you can do is wait patiently for them and support them without talking over them. It must be equally liberating and very frustrating as they start to talk. It's such a miracle. I don't think it'll ever become less amazing - a little window into their minds and their experiences, a view of their world.


Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 20:20:15

Finding it very reassuring to hear from others who have experienced/are experiencing this.
I will be bringing it up with the HV on holiday,seeing as we'll be there anyway. I've looked up and found a drop in session for SALT so if it's still affecting DS in a few weeks time I will take him along for a chat with someone there. Thanks again for all the responses. Much appreciated!

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 20:22:58

iced I know what you mean about them finding it liberating and frustrating. My DS has started stamping his feet in frustration when he gets stuck in the words, and I can see the relief/sense of achievement when he finally gets it out

Tollergirl Fri 01-Jul-16 20:26:28

Mother - not sure re the whispering - I wasn't a specialist in stuttering/stammering - but if it is really upsetting him it could be worth asking to see someone. The HV would be able to refer - the SLT will have the most up-to-date advice and will be able to offer you support and suggest some strategies.

TheLadyWithTheYellowHat Fri 01-Jul-16 20:29:40

I wouldn't worry op, my ds started with a stutter at about 2 1/2 he would repeat the start of every word in a sentance such as

M m m m mummy I want a a a a drink please

Hes now 3 1/2 and his speech is fine no stuttering at all

Mner Fri 01-Jul-16 20:30:29

DS (now 4.5yr and another early talker) has a stutter on and off. We did see an SLT about a year ago at a drop in centre. As well as the other useful advice above, she also recommended writing down moments when the stutter appears and that can help you understand what could be causing the stutter e.g. tiredness before bed, hunger, excitement at a birthday party, feeling like they don't have your attention in the car...

She said the stutters normally go by themselves. DS' had calmed down but it does seem to be making a re-appearance at the moment but there's just so much going on with school around the corner, settling in sessions etc, I think it's probably linked to that.

namechangingagainagain Fri 01-Jul-16 20:37:46

Mum of 4 boys and all have done this to a greater or lesser extent 2-4 yrs ish.
Worse if they were tired or distracted or trying to tell me something very exciting. I think sometimes their brain was going too fast for their mouth.
They've all gown out of it, but I guess no harm in asking to see a SALT if you're worried

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 20:39:00

Thanks for your response Toller I will see what the HV recommends on Tuesday. If she's not wanting to refer then I definitely won't be leaving it too long before seeking some help from SALT if it continues. It's so difficult watching him get cross with himself, especially when he gives up trying to say what he's been trying to say. He's always been a chatty boy and I'd hate for this to put him off talking.

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 20:50:00

That's a good idea mner I think I'll start taking notes.
The stutter is definitely more severe when he's tired or excited.
For example, tonight before bed he was trying to tell me he was playing with his car and it was "I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I....I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I" stamped his feet then "I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I pl-pl-pl-pl" big sigh, then looked at me like he'd given up. After a pause I said, "you're playing with your car?" Then he said "I pl- play play playing w-w-w-w-with mmmm mmm MY CAR. Brrrrrm!"

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 20:54:24

Just for contrast, a couple of weeks ago he would have said something more like "Look mummy! I'm playing with my car. It go brrrrmm round the race track" with no trouble whatsoever

Mner Fri 01-Jul-16 21:09:33

We got back after a full day at a birthday party and then village fete last year (tiredness plus excitement) and he couldn't even get past I. It was heartbreaking to watch, and it does make you worry.

When it pops back up again now, I find myself reminding myself to slow down, let him talk etc It's hard to remember as I feel out of the loop again. I also spoke with a lady from the British Stammering Association who was very helpful and reassuring.

He doesn't even notice it. I have tried to talk about it to him a couple of times but he denies it.

Motherofatruck Fri 01-Jul-16 21:24:30

The dreaded "I" sad It does seem to be the word he gets stuck on the most...

It's good that your DS doesn't notice it, at least it's not bothering him at all smile

NataliaOsipova Fri 01-Jul-16 21:33:07

Does he have an older sibling? Does he go to nursery?

My friend was upset when her DD's nursery suggested they send her to a speech therapist for a "stutter"'which sounds like your son's. She got as far as the GP, who said it wasn't a stutter if they are actually saying the first word ("I, I, I, I" is different from "C,c,c,c...can't" if you see what I mean). I think (and I've seen the same with my younger child) is that when they have to compete to be heard (ie with an older, more articulate sibling or in a nursery environment with lots of other children) then they are keen to "keep the floor" once they have the attention - they just aren't old enough or articulate enough to be able to get out what they are thinking. So the "I, I, I" is a way of still talking and still keeping the attention while getting his little head around the rest of the sentence that he wants you to understand. Both of these children grew out of this by the time they were 4ish and just better able to express in words what they were thinking.

NataliaOsipova Fri 01-Jul-16 21:34:50

...sorry – that didn't make brilliant sense - I meant both my younger child and my friend's DD grew out of the "I, I, I" by the time they were 4. Friday evening!

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