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Happy Children

Pediatric Services | Fluency

Stuttering and Cluttering

Fluent speech production includes steady continuity, smoothness, rate, and effort when speaking. Fluency disorders interrupt the steady forward flow of speech production. There are two main types of fluency disorders: stuttering and cluttering. Schedule your free consultation with us and see below for additional details on how your child could benefit from speech therapy.


Stuttering may include: 

  • Repetitions of syllables (Ni-ni-nice to meet you)

  • Repetitions of words (nice-nice-nice to meet you)

  • Prolongations of sounds (nnnnice to meet you)

  • Inaudible blocks of airflow and sound (n---ice to meet you)

Characteristics associated with stuttering may include: 


  • Physical tension and struggle in their speech muscles 

  • Secondary behaviors (e.g., eye blinking, head nodding, facial movements, raising pitch or volume, etc.)

  • Negative reactions related to speaking

  • Avoidance of speaking, certain words/sounds, or situations related to speaking

Depending upon the child, they may or may not have awareness of their disfluent speech. Your child may say things like, “my voice is stuck” or “my mouth won’t work.” These are potential indicators that your child is experiencing stuttering-like disfluencies with accompanied muscle tension.
As a child learns new words and progresses in their language development, they may experience a period where they exhibit an increased number of disfluencies in their speech. Some children will stop stuttering naturally. However, it is unknown whether a child will continue stuttering or not. 
There are several factors that increase a child’s likelihood to develop persistent stuttering. An evaluation by a speech-language pathologist will provide the information necessary to determine if your child’s disfluencies are stuttering-like or typical, if your child is at risk for persistent stuttering, and if treatment and/or parent training is needed.


It may be time to schedule an evaluation if your child exhibits any of the following signs or risk factors:


  • Stuttering onset after 3 ½ years

  • Stuttering persisting longer than 6-12 months

  • Family history of stuttering

  • Assigned male at birth

  • Speech sound errors

  • Advanced, delayed, or disordered language skills



Cluttering may include but is not limited to: 


  • Overall rapid speaking rate and/or bursts of rapid speech that is too fast for an individual’s system to handle 

  • Unclear and/or disorganized speech or difficulty organizing thoughts

  • Uncertainty of what one wants to say 

  • “Telescoping”or “over-coarticulation”(blending) of syllables together in multisyllabic words (e.g., “elephant” “elphin”)

  • Excessive interjections or “non-stuttering-like disfluencies” (e.g., “um,” “uh,” “ya know”)

  • “Circumlocutions” or many stops and starts, repeating/revising phrases or words during speech

  • No accompanied physical tension 

  • Limited awareness of rapid rate

  • Difficulty slowing rate, even when asked to do so 

  • Communication breakdowns

If your child presents with some of the above symptoms resulting in difficulties conveying messages to others in a coherent and/or concise manner, it may be time to schedule a consultation with a speech-language pathologist who is skilled in evaluating and treating fluency disorders.


Since cluttering is less well-known, many children who clutter are often described as “stuttering,” and although the two disorders are related and can co-occur, they are two different disorders. It is important that you determine if stuttering and/or cluttering is impacting your child’s speech so your speech-language pathologist can individually tailor skilled treatment approaches to reduce communication breakdowns. 


Would my child benefit from speech therapy for fluency support?
When treating fluency disorders, we will first determine whether stuttering and/or cluttering impacts your child’s speech, and which individual challenges are impacting their overall fluency and ability to communicate. We then deliver various individualized treatment techniques where the child either learns to modify their speech directly to create smoother speech or indirectly to facilitate your child’s ability to become an excellent communicator more holistically. 
In addition to decreasing the frequency and duration of stuttering, we will create a trusting relationship with your child in order to facilitate a safe and healing space, which can contribute to increased levels of self-esteem, participation in social situations, confidence when communicating, and feelings of empowerment related to their speech. 
At Cascada Resilient Therapy, it is our core principle to help our clients become resilient, confident and excellent communicators. Through our guidance, your child will learn that the way they speak is not wrong, but that they now have access to strategies that facilitate their ability to communicate. Most importantly, it is our goal to help them learn that they, too, are resilient and unique, just like their speech!

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