Stuttering

Stuttering

Stuttering is when people seem to get stuck on, or repeat, sounds when talking. Show your child that you are interested in what they say, not how they say it.

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Key points to remember about stuttering

  • stuttering is when people seem to get stuck on, or repeat, sounds when talking
  • stuttering is different for each child
  • stuttering may also be called 'stammering' or 'dysfluency'

What is stuttering?

Stuttering is when people seem to get stuck on, or repeat, sounds when talking. Stuttering may also be called 'stammering' or 'dysfluency'. 

What are some signs that my child has a stutter?

  • they repeat a sound ("p-p-p-please"), a syllable ("to-to-to-tomorrow") or a word ("my-my-my-my name is")
  • they stretch out a sound; for example, "ssssss- sometimes"
  • they get completely stuck at the start of a word, and no sound comes out.

Stuttering is different for each child. It can vary depending on the situation, such as what the child wants to say, who they are talking to and how they are feeling. Stuttering can start gradually or suddenly and may change over time.

Sometimes, a child may try to hide stuttering by avoiding talking.

Who does stuttering affect?

Stuttering can affect people of all ages and cultures. Many children stutter at some point as they learn to talk. Stuttering is more common in boys than girls and can run in families.

What are some tips to help my child who stutters?

  • show your child that you are interested in what they say, not how they say it. Maintain natural eye contact and don't ask them to say words again
  • let them finish their sentences rather than finishing them for them
  • be supportive if your child gets upset about their speech. You could say, "Talking is tricky sometimes when you're still learning"
References

If you would like to look at anything in more detail, this listing of references might be a good starting point.

Acknowledgements

The content on this page has been produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and adapted from Much more than words | Manuka takoto, kawea ake (2014) (PDF, 565KB)

This page last reviewed 17 November 2020.
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