Year Two – Post 7 | What is normal dysfluency?
Normal dysfluency is the repetition of sounds, syllables and words that may disrupt the normal flow of speech, and is usually related to a lack of expressive language skills in preschool children. It is not the same as stuttering.
Some professionals call dysfluency “developmental stuttering.” It may start as early as two or three years of age and usually resolves itself by age six when the child has a better grasp of vocabulary and syntax (grammar). If a child is experiencing normal dysfluency, it will generally correct itself within a reasonable amount of time. Give your child about six months to work through this stage. If it persists, gets worse or if your child develops a fear of speaking, you may want to consult a speech-language pathologist for a speech screening and/or evaluation.
Here are typical characteristics of dysfluent speech:
- Repetition of sounds, syllables or words. (“I-I-I go.”)
- Rephrasing of words, phrases and sentences before they are completed. (e.g. “I wanna — I go home.”)
- Use of “um,” “well” and “and” as fillers between words in a phrase and/or sentences. (e.g. “I – um —wanna— um— ice cream.”)
- Struggles with finding the correct word choice when she is excited or hurried.
When children are developing language, they have a number of tasks to sort out. Children of preschool age are learning new sounds, new words and how to combine these words correctly — all at the same time. Considering they are easily distracted, bombarded with sensory information and want to keep mom or dad’s attention while they are speaking, they have a lot to think about at once. Be patient and a good listener for your child and give him his “time to talk.”
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series