It’s almost summer! And the gateway to summer is…Father’s Day. I couldn’t write a June piece without a shoutout to the awesome dudes in our lives. Happy Father’s Day, you magnificent beasts!

Special days such as Father’s Day are almost universally shared among family and friends. And when we’re together, we inevitably share our experiences by talking to one another. And believe it or not, daddies talk, too…even if they’re just talking trash on the golf course!

But what happens to those who try so hard to share ideas and experiences, but can’t? Their brains and muscles are fine, but they end up repeating sounds, syllables, or words when they talk. They may even get stuck entirely or have long pauses between words. On top of that, someone is telling them to “just relax” or to “just let it out” like it is “just” so easy.

I’ve treated kids and adults who stutter. Some small children show stuttering-like behaviour that goes away on its own as their language develops to a degree that does justice to the complexity of their thoughts. However, there are certain characteristics that are known to predict who has a higher chance of having a lifelong stutter. 

Stuttering treatment differs for small children versus older kids and adults. Once a stutter is identified, it can’t be cured, but treatment is often successful at making speech so smooth that any stutter appears “normal”. And let’s face it, we ALL stutter to some degree. How about all of them “ums” and “ahs” we all do, hmmm? Stuttering treatment is especially effective for older kids and adults who have developed some degree of awareness and control and who WANT help. 

As with anything else speech-related, early identification and parent education is key for younger kids who are at high risk of developing a stutter. Therapy for this population aims to help reduce stuttering but also maintain children’s confidence when speaking. So, as always, if you have concerns about your speech or your child’s, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Friendly Neighbourhood Speech Pathologist.  


Mohamed (Mo) Oshalla, MHSc.,
Speech-Language Pathologist & Executive Director,
Ontario Speech & Language Services


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