Fluency disorders, disfluent speech and stuttering all refer to the same speech patterns. These patterns are marked by interruptions like repetition of syllables or words, multiple pauses in sentences, constant interjections like “um,” and getting stuck or blocked on certain words.
It’s natural for a child’s speech fluency to change and occasionally break down as their language skills develop. A fluency disorder is much more pronounced than normal speech stumbling, tends to persist and is often accompanied by visible tension. Fluency disorders in children of all ages are highly treatable with speech therapy.
How to Recognize Fluency Disorders
If you’re not sure if your child’s speech disfluency is indicative of a problem, compare their speech patterns to this list of symptoms of a fluency disorder:
Repetitions (“Do, do, do, do you want to see?”)
Holding a sound for too long (“I want my bbbbbear.”)
Too many interjections (“My, um, my mom, um, went, um, to the store.”)
Speech that is choppy and elongated
Tension around the mouth or in the face while articulating
Frequent blinking or tapping the mouth while speaking
Stuttering or disfluent speech is marked by primary behaviors and secondary behaviors. A primary behavior is the repetition of a sound, syllable, or phrase. Examples of secondary behaviors are physical tension in the face and frequent blinking. Not every child with a fluency disorder exhibits secondary behaviors.
We perform fluency evaluations in your home, and make the process comfortable and easy for you and your child. Through spontaneous conversation with your child and standardized instruments, one of our experienced speech-language pathologists will evaluate their speech for disfluencies.
Treatment plans are always personalized to each child’s strengths and weaknesses. Treatment is play-based, designed to be fun and simple for your child to engage with. We’ll work on speaking calmly, speaking slowly and breathing properly. You’ll be able to perform similar activities and practice similar skills at home. As your child’s speech progresses, the activities become more dynamic and challenging. Allowing your child to become more confident and in control of their communicative behaviors.