- Your child stutters frequently – There could be cause for concern if your child is stuttering more than 10% of the time. These behaviors include: repeating sounds, syllables, and words, prolonging sounds in words, or tense vocal “blocks” (when they try to produce a word but it seems to get stuck in the throat).
- You have a family member that stutters – Research shows that those who have relatives that stutter are at a greater risk for stuttering than those who do not. Though the exact cause is still unclear, about 60% of those who stutter chronically were found to have a family member who also stutters.
- Your child has been stuttering longer than 12 months – Phases of typical stuttering usually last no longer than 6-12 months. A person is more likely to stutter chronically if it has lasted longer than a year.
- Your child has visible tension in their face and neck – Sometimes you can see the struggle and difficulty those who stutter have with getting out words. You might see their eyes squint, lips quiver, or muscles tighten. If the stuttering instances are easy and loose with no tension, they are more likely to be exhibiting normal disfluency.
- Your child has difficulty with breath control – Those who stutter at times appear as if they were “out of breath” when talking. They might be trying to talk as quickly as possible and say their message all in one breath. Or the very act of speaking may be causing such exertion that they feel out of breath.
- Your child began to stutter after the age of 3 1/2 – Kids who develop disfluent behaviors later may be more likely to stutter chronically.
- Your child displays fear and avoidance of speaking – Sometimes kids have a difficulty time dealing with their difficulty speaking. They may realize that a certain sound or word is hard to say and avoid it altogether.
- Another risk factor – being male – Research has shown that boys are 3-4 times more likely to stutter than girls.