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Murdoch Children’s Research Institute study on preschool stuttering

Practicing Parents, a new Australian study finds preschoolers who stutter do just fine emotionally and socially.

Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Kate Eshleman says stuttering can be typical as a child is developing speech.

“For many kids it may go away, but even for those that it does not, this study shows that those kids are not at any risk or disadvantage for more social, emotional or behavioral problems,” Eshleman said.

Researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute studied more than 1,600 4-year-olds who stutter. They found higher rates of stuttering occurred in boys, twins and children whose mothers were college-educated. But, they were surprised to discover that stuttering in the preschool years was associated with better language development and non-verbal skills with no identifiable effect on the child’s mental health or temperament at age 4.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the current best practice recommends waiting 12 months before beginning treatment, but researchers think the “watchful waiting” period could be lengthened.

Eshleman says if you’re the parent of a child who stutters, don’t hesitate to bring it up to their pediatrician, but also don’t worry.


Let Me Finish: A Stuttering Documentary

Let Me Finish shares the personal experiences of Evan, Behnaz, and Joy — three life-long stutterers living in Austin, Texas. Through their compelling interviews, their group meetings at the National Stuttering Association Austin chapter, and expert testimony from leading UT Speech Language Pathologist Dr. Courtney Byrd, the documentary explores the physical and psychological effects of stuttering, dispels commonly held myths perpetuated by the media, and informs friends, family and others how they can help make communication a little easier for stutterers in their own lives.