Normal disfluency is
stuttering that begins during a child's intensive
language-learning years and resolves on its own sometime before
puberty. It is considered a normal phase of language
development. About 75 out of 100 children who stutter get better without
The most common normal
disfluency in children younger than age 3 is the repetition of one-syllable
words or parts of words, especially at the beginning of sentences ("I-I want
that"). After age 3, children with normal disfluencies most often repeat whole
words ("You-you-you") or phrases ("I see—I see—I see"). Other problems may
Symptoms may occur in phases. There may be periods of days or
weeks when they occur frequently, and then almost disappear, only to begin
Children with normal disfluencies do not usually have
physical symptoms, such as eye-blinking or obvious frustration. They do not try
to avoid speaking or seem bothered by their speech. They may not even appear to
Stuttering that follows the pattern of normal disfluency
occurs only once in every 10 sentences or less.1 Many
parents recognize these symptoms as a normal part of speech development.
If you have any concerns about your child's speech, talk with your child's doctor.
Guitar B, Conture EG (2007). The Child Who Stutters: To the Pediatrician, revised 4th ed. (Publication No. 23).
Memphis: Stuttering Foundation of America. Also available online:
August 7, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
& Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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