Study – Predictors and Outcomes of Stuttering in Preschoolers

OK, I know our bub is only 4 months old, but it doesn’t hurt to look at studies with older children right?

This post is for the parents of kids who stutter. Or for the kids who stutter and want to punch the kids that tease them. I’m not condoning violence here. I’m just saying…

Stuttering is the most common form of dysfluency (disorder of speech fluency) and commonly occurs between ages 3 to 4 years.

This study looked at over a thousand Australian infants aged 7-10 months, then followed them up at 4 years.

It was found that:

  • The prevalence of stuttering in preschool-age children is about 11% (ie. slightly more than 1 in 10 preschool kids will stutter);
  • Preschoolers who stutter had significantly higher language scores, nonverbal cognition scores, and health-related quality of life than preschoolers who did not;
  • The observation that stuttering was not associated with shy temperament or behavioral problems contradicts the beliefs of many clinicians and parents.

The reasoning behind the findings is that stuttering might be a “byproduct” of rapid language development between 2 and 4 years of age, and this is a period in which a child’s motor speech system is challenged to keep pace with the phenomenal rate of language acquisition.



Reilly et al. Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study. PEDIATRICS Vol. 132 No. 3 September 1, 2013 pp. 460 -467.

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