Early Childhood Stuttering 27
parents usually are reliable in diagnosing stuttering intheir child....the identification of early stuttering in clini-cal settings is seldom difficult. We wonder why severalauthors...have expressed a different opinion, emphasiz-ing the great overlap and possible confusion betweenearly stuttering and normal disfluency, and cautioningclinicians of the difficult task.
Stuttering typically begins suddenly. Unlike other communicationdisorders, stuttering begins after the development of normalspeech. Other communication disorders occur because normalspeech fails to develop, for various reasons.
But stuttering chil-dren
rst developed normal speech, or, typically, better thannormal speech and language skills. Then one day, one week, orover a few weeks, the child starts to stutter.Approximately 30% of stuttering children started stuttering inone day, 40% started in three days or less, almost 50% in on weekor less, and almost 75% in two weeks or less.
85% of parents reported that at the onset of stuttering, theirchild repeated syllables and words three to
ve times per instanceof stuttering. In addition, 36% reported sound prolongations, and23% reported conspicuous silent intervals during speech, 14%reported blocks, 18% reported facial contortions, and 18% reportedrespiratory irregularities. 36% reported moderate to severe tensionor force during speech. In contrast, only 32% of parents reportedthat their child started stuttering with only easy, effortless repeti-tions.
Within one year of onset, most parents (53%) reported secon-dary physical symptoms, including tension or strain in the face,eyes, lips, tongue, jaw, and neck; respiratory irregularities, andtense movements (jerks) of the head or limbs.
The onset of stuttering was associated with illnesses or excessivefatigue (14%), emotionally upsetting events (40%), and “develop-ment stress,” e.g., toilet training (36%), for a combined total of more than 50% of parents associating one or more of these stressful