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About Normal Nonfluency

What parents may call stuttering is sometimes normal nonfluency. Preschool children may repeat s-s-sounds, syl-syl-syllables, or whole words. These occasional nonfleuncies are understandable. Young children have many new experiences to talk about. Since they're still learning new words and how to put them together, they may not express themselves smoothly.

Though nonfluent speech is a normal stage of development, there are ways to encourage smooth talking.


  1. Pay attention to your child when he/she talks to you. let him/her know you're listening. Remember that he/she wants to share his/her feelings, experiences, and ideas with you.
  2. Model smooth talking for your child. When talking to him/her, keep your speech slow and deliberate.
  3. Encourage more talking on the days when your child's speech is more fluent. Decrease his/her need to talk on the days when his/her speech is less fluent.
  4. Tell other people not to imitate or joke about your child's nonfluent speech. This includes brothers, sisters, friends,relatives, and baby sitters. Be very frank about how you want others to react to his/her nonfluency.
  5. If your child appears frustrated with his/her speech, reassure him/her that some words are difficult for you too.Give him/her some examples like chrysanthemum, linoleum, or aluminum.
  6. Calmly accept his nonfluencies. Reuse the nonfluent words in a natural, normal way. For example,
    • Child: "I broke my t-t-toy."
    • Parent: "Which toy did you break?"


  1. Don't demand speech from your child if he/she is crying, injured, or obviously upset.
  2. Don't interrupt your child when he/she is talking or complete his/her sentences.
  3. Don't prompt your child to talk. For example: "Tell Grandma 'Good-bye'" or tell Dad what you did today."
  4. Don't tell others about your child's nonfluency when he/she is listening.

Many young children do experience some normal nonfluency. Remember that a pleasant speaking situation encourages smooth talking.


Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency "Helping Schools Help Children"


For more information, contact the Mississippi Bend Area Education Area Education Agency center nearest you.

Bettendorf Service Center
729 - 21st Street
Bettendorf, IA 52722
(563) 359-1371

2001 Manufacturing Court
Clinton, IA 52732
Phone: (563) 242-6454
(563) 242-6468

Muscatine Service Center
1422 Houser Street
Muscatine, IA 52761
(563) 263-8476

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