Children who have difficulty with fluency are commonly known as stutterers. Stuttering can occur at any age and can vary from child to child. Some children may stutter on the initial sounds of words, and then be fluent for the remainder of the conversation. Some may be slightly more involved, in which they "get stuck" and try to force their words out which results in what is called a block. Others may stretch out their words when they try to speak, resulting in prolongations of speech. By teaching your child a new way to speak, he should become more fluent and use his new speech pattern to communicate easier. Please be aware that most children go through a phase of stuttering when first learning how to communicate. Around age 2-4 you may see in increase in stuttering which is common. Children may outgrow this phase by the time they reach Kindergarten. Ways to help your child through this phase is to allow your child to finish what he/she is saying and maintain good eye contact. Telling him/her to slow down may not always be the best strategy.
Children who are seen for voice therapy are those that have a quality to their voice that is either too hoarse, too breathy or perhaps raspy. A child's pitch may be inappropriate or the rate of speech may be inappropriate. The most common type of voice disorders in young children is due to vocal abuse (screaming, making loud animal noises, etc...) which may result in vocal nodules on their vocal cords. All voice disorders should be evaluated by an ear/nose/throat specialist before speech therapy begins. This is done either through your child's pediatrician referral, or through the district. It is important to determine if there is a medical condition causing the voice disorder. Children that are seen for voice disorders usually are taught how to reduce vocal abuse if that is the type of disorder identified.