When does the stuttering begin?

Stuttering - does my child need help?

"That grows together ..."

If a child starts to stutter, parents are often told "wait and see, it will go away by itself". However, this advice does not make sense and can even be harmful if it wastes valuable time when there is an actual need for treatment.

The fact is: So far, even experts have not been able to predict which child will "lose" the stuttering by when or not. You are therefore acting for the benefit of your child if you find out about stuttering now and seek diagnostic clarification at an early stage.

Stuttering can be therapeutically accompanied even in small children and experts today agree that stuttering therapy is more promising the earlier qualified treatment is given.

Is my child stuttering?

Stuttering consists of interruptions in the flow of speech:

  • Blockages ("H - - - - - - - - hello papa!")
  • Repetitions of letters or syllables ("Wa-wa-wa-wa-what is that?")
  • Stretches or long drawn out sounds ("Hooooolst you ice cream?")
  • Obvious effort to speak

Stuttering occurs differently depending on the situation. It is possible that your child speaks perfectly fluently to himself or to his teddy bear. There are also periods in which children stutter more strongly, alternating with phases of relative freedom from stuttering.

If your child obviously makes an effort while speaking, becomes tense, reacts to his or her speechlessness (e.g. through anger, crying, sudden silence), if he avoids certain terms or sounds, or doesn't like to speak as much and as much as before, that's further Signs that it might really be stuttering.

Get professional advice now!
Regardless of whether your child has some or all of these signs: As soon as your child's way of speaking unsettles you, you should seek professional advice and diagnostics!

Why does a child stutter?

The causes of stuttering have still not been conclusively researched. One thing is certain, however: parents are not to be blamed for the development! Stuttering develops independently of social or cultural origin and is also not dependent on the level of education or the way in which the family is treated.

Scientists have now found that language processing in the brain is different in stuttering people than in non-stuttering people. It is also likely that there is a predisposition to stuttering that is inherited, along with triggering and sustaining factors. A special experience (e.g. the birth of a sibling or a fall from a bicycle) can be the triggering moment for stuttering, i.e. you notice that your child has been stuttering since then, but they are not the cause - any other experience would have the stuttering as well can evoke.

"Everything is purely psychological!"
Psychological reasons for the occurrence of stuttering are extremely rare. However, inhibitions and low self-esteem can be the result of persistent stuttering and reactions to it (e.g., laughing, teasing). Early consultation and any subsequent treatment can prevent this from happening.

Therapy for children already?

Stuttering can be treated even in young children. In Germany, stuttering is diagnosed and treated primarily by speech therapists, speech therapists and breathing, speech and voice teachers (all professions are of course also carried out by men). You need a doctor's prescription for the visit. The pediatrician should take your concerns seriously and support qualified diagnostics and any stuttering therapy that may be necessary for your child. Perhaps you can bring the information material about stuttering with you to the practice.

Methods of stuttering therapy
Beware of “miracle therapies” that promise success in the shortest possible time! It is true that stuttering can be reduced quickly with simple changes in the way you speak, so that your child appears "cured". However, the techniques are usually hardly suitable for everyday use.

Instead of quick successes, a long-term method is important. Qualified stuttering therapy takes time and the costs are usually covered by the health insurance company. Especially when treating very young children, parents are involved in stuttering therapy, e.g. through accompanying advice so that you can support your child.

Listen and give time

It is understandable if you feel insecure about your child's stuttering. However, it will be more helpful for your child to accept the way they speak and to help them not fight stuttering. Supposedly good advice like “take a deep breath first” or “think before you speak” only puts the child under pressure.

Look at your child in a relaxed manner and listen calmly to what they say to you. If you don't add to their words or phrases, give your child time to finish speaking. Show that you care what your child says and not how they do it!

In daycare and school

Be open about your son or daughter's stuttering! Teach the kindergarten team about it, and so do the teachers, as they usually don't know much about stuttering or how to deal with affected children. Well informed, you will be able to support your child better and respond appropriately to the reactions of other girls and boys if, for example, they laugh at the stuttering.

Incidentally, stuttering schoolchildren are entitled to a so-called disadvantage compensation for oral performance. You should therefore address the issue of stuttering when you start school so that this legally regulated option can be used for your child.

Who can help?

The Bundesvereinigung Stutter & Selbsthilfe e.V. (BVSS) is an independent, non-profit organization. We represent the interests of stuttering people and their relatives. We offer parents of stuttering children the following complementary options:

  • Leaflets and brochures - for initial information about stuttering, for example the brochure "When children stutter - tips for finding therapists", which we created together with the Federal Association for Speech Therapy.
  • Parents seminar - here you will deepen your knowledge of stuttering together with other families and learn, guided by a speech therapist, how you can support your child.
  • Individual specialist advice - all about the methods and possibilities of stuttering therapies and how to deal with stuttering within the family.
  • Directory of therapists - addresses of qualified therapists who specialize in the treatment of stuttering children.
  • Literature and films - at the specialist publisher Demosthenes, which is part of the BVSS, you can get the guidebook “My child stutters - what now?” As well as encouraging children's books and comics.


Information and advice center for stuttering
Federal Association for Stuttering & Self-Help (BVSS)
Zülpicher Str. 58
50674 Cologne

Telephone 0221 - 139 1106

© Federal Association of Stuttering & Self-Help, 2011

discontinued on October 22, 2015