For as many as 2.5 percent of toddlers, however, this development may be hindered by the use of repeated words, phrases or drawn out syllables that are often signs of stuttering.
“Stuttering is most often associated with difficulties in the timing between the breathing or respiratory regulation for speech, and voicing, that is the use of your larynx or voice box in order to produce sound,” said Amy Nebel-Gould, a speech pathologist in the rehabilitative services department at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Some children also have problems with word retrieval – where they can’t think of the word – and that disrupts their normal flow of speech.
Stuttering may run in families and be aggravated by situations that create stress for a child, even when it’s a good situation.
“We often see before Christmas, when children are excited in a good way, that they may manifest an escalation or a worsening of their problem on a temporary basis,” Nebel-Gould said.
She also noted that a child who stutters may experience related symptoms such as eye blinking, head jerking or other muscle movements that may feel needed to help them get their words out.
Nebel-Gould discusses these and other aspects of stuttering, including treatment options that can help ease and even eliminate these speech disruptions, in the following video.