Topic Overview

During an evaluation for
stuttering, a health professional will consider a
child’s risk factors to help find out whether the problem is temporary (normal
disfluency) or likely to persist (developmental stuttering).

factors (things that increase risk) for stuttering include:

  • Having a family member whose stuttering did not
    resolve on its own.
  • Being male. Boys are more likely than girls to
    keep stuttering.
  • The age that it starts. Children who start to stutter
    before age 3½ are more likely to outgrow it than children who start to stutter
    at an older age.
  • The amount of time that it’s lasted. A child who has
    stuttered for at least 6 months may be less likely to outgrow it on his or her
    own. If it’s lasted longer than 12 months, there’s even less of a chance that a
    child will outgrow it on his or her own.
  • How clear the speech is. A
    child who speaks clearly with few, if any, speech errors may be more likely to
    outgrow stuttering than a child whose speech errors make him or her hard to
  • Having speech irregularities that have lasted 18
    months or more.

Usually each risk factor taken individually is not
significant. Rather, the strength of each risk factor and how many are present
can help a health professional determine whether stuttering is likely to be a
long-term problem.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD – Pediatrics
John Pope, MD – Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD – Developmental Pediatrics

Current as ofMay 4, 2017