In this video, speech-language pathologist Carrie Clark will address when to do direct speech therapy for preschool stuttering and when it’s best to do indirect therapy or wait on therapy all together.

Look for Risk Factors:

  • A family history of stuttering
  • Stuttering that has continued for 6 months or longer
  • Presence of other speech or language disorders
  • Strong fears or concerns about stuttering on the part of the child or the family

No single factor can be used to predict whether a child will continue to stutter. The combination of these factors can help SLPs determine whether treatment is indicated.


Warning Signs for Persistent Stuttering from

  • A parent, sibling, or other family member who still stutters
  • Stuttering starts after age 3 ½
  • Stuttering has been occurring for at least 6 months
  • Preschooler is a male
  • The child has other speech sound errors or trouble being understood
  • The child’s language skills are advanced, delayed, or disordered


How Long to Wait

Mark Onslow of the Australian Stuttering Research Centre recommends that the speech therapist should monitor the child for signs of natural recovery for about 6 months, but no longer.  Onslow explains that other reasons a speech therapist may want to begin therapy sooner include:

  • The child becomes distressed about the stuttering
  • The stuttering is causing social problems or psychological issues


How to Stop Stuttering in Preschoolers, What Therapy is Best?

Although there have been many different types of stuttering therapy over the years, a systematic review in 2006 by Bothe, et. al. found that the response-contingency approach was most effective treatment approach for children who stutter.


Find out More about Response Contingency:

Click Here to Download Your Free Stuttering Cheat Sheets

More Resources for Speech-Language Pathologists:

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