Therapist Advice – The case of developmental dysfluency, what can a parent do?

by David
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay

Christina is back and yes, she made sure to prepare another expert advice to share with all parents, today’s topic is developmental dysfluency, what is it? What can a parent do?

I never heard of this and reading Christina’s post made me realize how common it is, but its all ok so don’t worry, Christina all yours:

Mummy… mummy… mummy…..

The case of developmental dysfluency in toddlers and pre-schoolers


I turn to my daughter and tell her it’s time to eat. “But… but…. but… but… but… I am not ready” she replies. This little girl, at 3 years of age, is passing through a period of dysfluency which is quite common in young children.

Why does this happen?

This type of dysfluency which occurs when the child is very young is called ‘developmental stuttering’. It generally happens when a child’s speech and language abilities are developing rapidly and when language abilities are unable to meet the child’s verbal demands. The child’s fluency may fluctuate where there will be periods of disfluency and other stretches of fluent speech. The dysfluency may occur for no apparent reason but it may also get worse when the child is tired, excited or under a time pressure to speak. Developmental stuttering is commonly characterized by word and phrase repetitions and whilst most children’s developmental stuttering stops by time, stuttering may persist in others.

What can I do as a parent?

  1. As with any other communication difficulty, always opt to have your child assessed by a speech and language pathologist. Your child’s communication abilities will be assessed and this will help determine exactly what intervention your child might need. Your therapist will also guide you to use strategies that improve speech fluency and decrease negative attitudes towards communication.
  2. Set a relaxed home environment that provides ample opportunities for your child to talk without time constraints.
  3. Implement ‘child-mummy/daddy’ time where your child can have your undivided attention for 5 minutes or more every day. Switch off your phone, turn off the TV and focus all your attention on your child.
  4. Do not tell your child to “slow down” or “think before you speak”. Instead, model slow relaxed speech yourself. When you are talking, try to consciously talk slower, with more pauses and in a relaxed manner. Doing this frequently will indirectly help your child learn to speak slower which will help improve fluency.
  5. Listen attentively to what your child has to say and do not attempt to finish their sentences. Wait for him to finish what he has to say. Patience is key.
  6. Reduce open-ended questions. Instead of asking your child “what would you like to eat?” ask “would you like a banana or an apple?” This helps reduce communication stress during periods of dysfluency.
  7. If you see that your child is getting frustrated with her dysfluency, be open about it and let him know that it is ok for ‘bumpy’ speech to occur and that you will give him all the time he needs to finish what he has to say.

I hope that you have found the above useful and do not hesitate to contact your speech and language pathologist should you have any concerns.

Until next time😊


Thanks, Christina, I suggest to all parents to go to Christina’s new blog and also she is now on Facebook 🙌

Stay tuned next time for her expert advice!

You may also like


Caroline June 11, 2021 - 3:36 pm

Really informative! Thank you.

David June 16, 2021 - 8:34 am

Thank You Caroline


Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More