There are more than 3 million people in the United States who stutter. Pediatricians and teachers are often the first professionals that a parent will go to for advice. In order to determine when to refer to a speech/language pathologist, these professionals are faced with the challenge of differentiating between typical disfluencies and true stuttering.

Research suggests that anywhere between 75 to 80 percent of children who go through a period of disfluency will outgrow stuttering. This statistic can often lead teachers and pediatricians to suggest that the family “wait and see” before consulting a speech/language pathologist.

However, one must also consider the risk of missing a critical window in which treatment is optimal. Early intervention plays a vital role in reducing the likelihood that a child will continue to stutter and can minimize the impact of stuttering on a child’s life–both socially and academically. There are certain risk factors that professionals, as well as families, should consider when deciding what’s best for the child.

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