Many children stutter at some point when they are little. The good news is that most children who stutter grow out of it with no intervention. What's the best way to help kids who stutter? Most speech and language professionals say the answer is simple: Do nothing. Or at least, nothing obvious. Filling in words for a child or telling him or her to "slow down" or "relax" can make a child nervous and actually make the problem worse. Parents should continue to monitor the speech of a child who stutters to see if there is a pattern (it happens in some situations but not others, etc.) and to note if it gets better of worse. Parents of young children can ask their pediatrician's advice or talk to a preschool or nursery school teacher to see if they notice the stuttering in school.
If the problem persists for more than several months or is so severe that your child has difficulty making himself understood, parents should contact a speech and language pathologist for a formal assessment. If the child is of school age, a speech evaluation can be arranged through the special education department at a child's school. If the child is younger, parents can ask their pediatrician or preschool teacher for a recommendation. Most children's hospitals have speech and language clinics. Make sure that you identify a speech and language pathologist who has had experience with children with speech dysfluencies, such as stuttering. You may find someone who specializes in the assessment and treatment of stuttering.