Stuttering is a speech disorder that is characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, parts of words, whole words, and phrases. Some children will also have prolongations or stretching of sounds of syllables. Tense pauses or hesitations may or may not occur. Reactions that accompany stuttering such as eye blinking, tremors of the lips, and foot tapping may also be present. There is variability in stuttering behavior between people. Often it depends on the speaking situation and the communication partner.
Everyone experiences periods of dysfluent speech. Normal dysfluencies tend to be simple repetitions of whole words or interjections of place markers such as “um” or “er.” Some children between the ages of two and three go through a brief stage of dysfluency. This may occur when there is a period of growth in language skills. As the child’s language skills develop the dysfluencies disappear. This is also the same period of time that stuttering develops in children so if the stuttering gets more effortful or frequent and you are concerned, you may want to have your child evaluated by a certified speech language pathologist.