Stuttering

Pediatric Rehabilitation

Stuttering

Contact Information
(608) 263-8412

UW Health's pediatric rehabilitation specialists in Madison, Wisconsin, provide a multidisciplinary approach to your child's rehabilitation.

Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by disruptions in the forward flow of speech. These disruptions, or speech disfluencies, may involve repetitions of whole words or parts of words (“like-like-like this” or “li-li-like this”), prolongations of sounds (“llllike this”) or complete blockages of sound (“l---ike this”).

While some children may be going through a normal period of disfluency repeating words occasionally, others may exhibit characteristics that warrant further investigation by a speech pathologist.

Warning signs include multiple repetitions of sounds and syllables (greater than three times), sound prolongations, blocks, physical force and struggle and increased awareness of speech difficulty. Stuttering is highly variable and fluctuates between periods of fluent and disfluent speech.

Our specialized staff will evaluate a child to determine if he/she is exhibiting normal/typical forms of disfluency vs. atypical forms which require treatment.

Our treatment program is highly individualized, as every child who stutters is different. Treatment involves parent education and training as well as direct and/or indirect therapy with the child within and outside of the therapy room. Treatment length varies depending on the severity of the stuttering, the child’s reaction to his/her speech challenge as well as the age of the child.

With preschoolers, the goal of treatment is to help the child learn to speak fluently through the use of modeling and play-based activities. Treatment of preschoolers is often highly effective, with many children exhibiting complete recovery within 6-12 months.

For older children and adolescents, it is difficult to eliminate stuttering, but they do benefit from learning strategies to achieve fluency, modify their stuttering and develop healthy, positive attitudes toward themselves and toward their speech. Treatment length for the older child typically ranges between 6-12 months as well.