Stuttering


It is quite common for many young kids to go through a stage between the ages of two and five where they stutter and repeat certain syllables, words or phrases. They may prolong words, pause in mid-word, or skip certain sounds and syllables. Stuttering is a form of disfluency — which is an interruption in the flow of speech. In many instances, this usually goes away by the age of five. However it may persist longer for few children. There is no cure for stuttering, however, your child can be treated and counselled to develop an appropriate speech.

Early symptoms of stuttering appear when your child is between twenty to twenty four months old. This is the time a child begins to catch and pick up words, form vocabulary and start to structure and form sentences. If you feel your child is stuttering at this age, this is not uncommon as many children stutter at this age, and this may go away with time. However, if you feel this is progressing, and your child is stuttering as he or she is growing, it is important to get your child examined by a speech therapist or a child’s specialist at the Children’s Hospital service line at The Aga Khan University Hospital. 

The stuttering is usually accompanied by a specific facial movement, and your child may also pause between words while putting together a sentence. A child may stutter for a few weeks or several months, and the stuttering may be sporadic. Most kids who begin stuttering before the age of 5 stop doing so without any need for interventions, such as speech or language therapy.

You may wish to seek help if your child: 

  • repeats whole words and phrases, and this feature become excessive and consistent

  • has unusual facial or body movements along with the stuttering

  • sound and syllable repetitions start happening more frequent 

  • increasingly prolonging words

  • changes word choices for fear of stuttering

  • has specific difficulty or strain during speech

  • tries to avoid situations that require talking

  • has increased facial tension or tightness in the speech muscles

  • has vocal tension resulting in rising pitch or loudness

You may also have other concerns about your child's speech​

​Inform your doctor at the Children’s Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you see that your child’s stuttering is not going away after 5 years and if it has become more frequent after being just sporadic previously. Our doctors at the Children’s Hospital at The Aga Khan University Hospital will be able to guide you through the prognosis and suggest related treatment. A referral to child psychologist and speech therapist may be needed.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

There’s no specific test needed for diagnosis of stuttering. Your doctor will listen to your child’s speech and will be able to assess whether your child stutters or not. Usually your doctor will see how your child is talking to you and gauge the level of stuttering your child has.

As a parent you can try these steps to help your child:

  • Don't ask or penalize your child to speak correctly at all times. Allow talking to be fun and enjoyable.

  • Use family meals and dinner times as a conversation time. Avoid distractions such as radio or TV or video games.

  • Avoid corrections or criticisms such as "slow down," "take your time," or "take a deep breath." These comments will make your child much conscious and result in a low self-esteem and lower confidence.

  • Don't interrupt your child or tell him or her to start over.

  • Don't tell your child to think before speaking.

  • Provide a calm atmosphere at home. Try to slow down the pace of family life.

  • Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child or others in his or her presence.

  • Maintain natural eye contact with your child. 

  • Don’t look away while they talk or show signs of being upset if your child makes a mistake.

  • Let your child speak for him or herself and to finish their thoughts and sentences. 

  • Talk slowly to your child. 

Consulting a speech therapist will also be of much help. Your speech therapist will schedule numerous sessions with your child and help him or her develop his or her speech. Speech therapy has always seen positive results and usually kids are able to speak normally after a course of action followed by the speech therapist.

​The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

​Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.




​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.