Stuttering symptoms include:

  • Difficulty starting a word, sentence or phrase
  • Repetition of a sound, syllable or word

The speech difficulties of stuttering may be accompanied by:

  • Rapid eye blinks
  • Tremors of the lips or jaw
  • Tension, tightness or movement of the face or upper body

Stuttering may be worse when you're excited, tired or under stress, or when you feel self-conscious, hurried or pressured. Situations such as speaking in front of a group or talking on the telephone can be particularly difficult for people who stutter.

When to see a doctor

It's common for children between the ages of 2 and 5 to stutter. For most children, this is part of learning to speak, and it gets better on its own. However, stuttering that persists may require treatment to get better.

Call your child's doctor for an appointment if stuttering:

  • Lasts more than six months
  • Becomes more frequent
  • Occurs along with facial tension or tightness
  • Occurs with other facial or body movements
  • Affects your child's schoolwork or social interactions
  • Causes emotional problems, such as fear or avoidance of situations in which your child has to talk
  • Continues beyond age 5 or first becomes noticeable when your child begins reading aloud in school

If you're an adult who stutters, seek help if stuttering causes you stress or anxiety or affects your self-esteem, career or relationships. See your doctor or a speech-language pathologist, or search for a program designed to treat adult stuttering.

Sep. 08, 2011

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