Stuttering: When to seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
Mar 02, 2012

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Stuttering is a common speech disorder. It occurs more commonly in children between the age of 2 and 5. It can be considered as part of learning to speak in children, which improves slowly on its own. If stuttering persists, treatment may be needed to improve speech.

Consult a doctor for stuttering if:

  • The problem lasts for more than six months in the child
  • Speech problem (stuttering) of your child appears to be increasing
  • The child has physical symptoms such as facial tension or tightness, rapid blinking of eyes, tremors of lip or jaw along with stuttering
  • It has started to affect your child's schoolwork, social interactions or is causing emotional problems (such as fear or avoidance of situations when the child has to talk)
  • Stuttering continues in the child beyond age 5
  • Stuttering is noted when your child begins reading aloud in school
  • Stuttering starts in an adult
  • If stuttering causes you stress, anxiety or affects the self-esteem, career or relationships in an adult

If stuttering starts in an adult, the doctor will try to determine if brain injury is present such as from an accident or a stroke, which is causing the problem. If some pathology in the brain is suspected, you may be referred to a neurologist. You may also be referred to a psychiatrist to determine if some emotional trauma or other mental health problems may be affecting your speech. If stuttering affects the self-esteem, career or relationships or emotional health in adult along with speech-language, you may be referred to a psychiatrist.

Who to consult

Health professionals, who can be consulted, if you think you have stuttering include:

  • General practitioner
  • Paediatrician
  • Neurologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Family physician




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