person with difficulty and questions in studies

Diagnosing Disfluencies (stuttering)

One of the most common speech-language diagnosis people think about when finding out what I do for a living is, stuttering. Stuttering is a diagnosis that is on a continuum, there are some cases that are severe and others that are mild. Additionally, there are many different stuttering types. See below for the types of disfluencies you would see with people who stutter:

– Repeating whole words (I, I, I, I want a cookie)

– Repeating first sound or syllable of words (C-C-Can: Mo-Mo-Mommy)

– Repeating ends of words (are we going ing ing there?)

– Prolonging first sound of word (MMMMMMommy)

– Tense blocks at beginning of words (C-an I go?)

– Insertion of silent pauses or broken mid word (y—ou know)

The above list is known to be core stuttering like disfluencies. There is also another set of disfluencies that is common with children who stutter however, if seen without any of the core disfluencies, then your child wouldn’t be considered to have stuttering, but potentially cluttering, depending on the frequency of these type of disfluencies:

– Re-phrasing or revising ideas (can we, I want to go there)

– Adding extra words or “fillers” (um, you know)

– Repeating a whole phrase (I like to, I like to)

– Hesitations at the beginning of a sentence (….uh well I don’t think)

Two more things to note. First, we all have disfluencies in our speech. There is not one person that doesn’t produce one of these types of disfluencies covered, and if you pay close attention, I bet you would realize it happens a lot more than you think. Second, there are other characteristics needed to diagnose stuttering. What has been covered in this blog is the larger indicator of the several indications that lead a clinician to diagnose a person with stuttering. Among those other indications are:

– Physical manifestations (eye blinking, twitching, etc.)

– Self-awareness

– Age

– Length of time person has had disfluencies

In the next blog we will be covering the several ways SLP’s treat disfluencies.


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Rhyming is a necessary building block for developing your children’s ability to use and manipulate words. Not to mention how fun and silly it can be for them. The typical age that a clinician expects children to rhyme is at 3-years-old. At this age, your child should be able to produce non-sense words that could rhyme with “cat” (e.g., dat).  Ideally, you want to encourage real words to rhyme with however, at 3 years of age it is important for them to understand how words can sound similar and yet different at the same time.

Why is this important?

It is imperative to be cognizant of how well they rhyme because it can act as an indicator for 1) your child’s hearing ability and 2) your child’s sensitivity to the sound structures in speech. For a little more about the hearing component read here. Regarding their sensitivity to speech, rhyming is the gate way to further a child’s understanding about words and the impact a single sound can make on a word. Once a child demonstrates sensitivity to rhyming, they are much closer to be a well-suited student in learning how to read.

Things to do

  • You can watch/learn rhyming songs like these here and here. I know the videos are a little cheesy however that is high quality for kids!
  • While you are cooking you can make fun rhymes about the food your making or the utensils you are using
  • Create a rhyme book from this free resource from Florida Center for Reading Research

If you have further interest behind the science see the book references and research below:

Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. (1985). Rhyme and reason in reading and spelling. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Bryant, P., MacLean, M., & Bradley, L. (1990). Rhyme, language, and children’s reading. Applied Psycholinguistics, 11, 237-252.

Moats, L. & Tolman, C. (2008). The Development of Phonological Skills.

Snow, C., Burns, M., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.