I have a 10 year old ds. He is dx'd Adhd. He has high levels of anxiety. Earlier this year we took him off his Adhd meds for quite awhile due to an adverse reaction. We noticed he has an odd pattern to his speech. He will hesitate often during speaking and at times will start over repeatedly a sentence (sometimes with the same words, sometimes with similar but different words). We don't make a big deal out of it, we do notice that it is not as noticeable when he is medicated, it doesn't interrupt his ability to sing (he is active in a choral group), he is homeschooled so it does not cause disruptions in a classroom (at this point). We do have a family member who stutters quite badly and it has been lifelong so there may be some genetic predisposition.
Any insight? More info about stuttering or if this doesn’t sound like stuttering, what it might be? At what point do we speak to someone about intervening with the behavior?
You could start with getting an evaluation with a speech language pathologist.
I am an SLP. I can't know for sure since I've not seen your son, but I can say that from your description it does not sound like true stuttering.
Stuttering is considered to be "true stuttering" when it consists of prolongations, blocks, syllable repetitions or a combination of those three. prolongations are a longer sound like "I ssssssssssaw something." blocks are silent moments where it appears the person is frozen and no air comes out. It looks like the mouth is stuck. You can sometimes see the tension in the mouth, face, or neck during a block but there is no sound. Syllable repetitions like ba-ba-ball are considered also, but not word repetitions or phrase repetitions.
My guess would be that if you are hearing him start and restart a sentence, sometimes revising with new words, its more indicative of difficulty organizing his thoughts. This makes sense particularly in light of his other diagnosis of ADHD and the fact that this is more noticeable when unmedicated. Is it possible that his attention difficulty is making it harder to concentrate and organize his thoughts? Is there another med to try? Also, some medications can actually increase stuttering. Be aware of that as well.
There are some children who stutter who will choose certain words and avoid other words because they tend to stutter on certain sounds (i.e. "I won't say words that begin with S if I can help it, so instead of saying START, I try to say BEGIN" etc.) It doesn't sound like that's the case here, but another thing to keep in mind. Generally, we don't like to see kids doing these types of revisions to avoid stuttering. It is called an "avoidance behavior" and its not good in terms of stuttering treatment. Again, in the absence of prolongations, syllable reps, and blocks, it doesn't sound like your son is stuttering. But I thought I would mention this too in case I wasn't understanding your explanation and he is actually choosing words for this reason and revising this way.
Anyhow, I hope this helps!
That sounds a lot like my 7 year old, although he doesn't do so much of the sentence restarting. He'll start words over and over until they finally come out. Sometimes he can't get the word out so he'll start the sentence over completely and then the word will finally come out right. Sometimes he just chooses a different word. I had a speech therapist take a listen to him and she said it's definitely not a typical stutter, and he'll likely outgrow it. The older he gets the more I think it's just anxiety related. We haven't tried meds yet to see if that helps. I'd like to avoid meds for now. He also has various tics that seem to be anxiety related. He's shown some symptoms of ADHD as well. I think his brain is just going to fast for his mouth most of the time. He also has a heck of a time with writing because of this. He has a whole novel in his head he wants to write and his writing abilities just aren't even close to what he needs to get his thoughts onto paper. It's frustrating and overwhelming for him and I often find him trying to substitute shorter words or phrases because it's easier to write. A lot of the time he just abandons the project. :-(
Thank you BethSLP and BandGeek!
BethSLP- Your explanation really clarifies what I was thinking may be going on. It also explains why his dr wasn't too concerned at this point. Organization in most areas of life are really a struggle for him, I think this just follows suit!!!
BandGeek- The thought of being tied to anxiety also makes sense. He has had some incidents that previously would have been no big deal that caused debilitating embarassment recently. I wonder if that is a related issue. I so understand the novel in his head that can't come out through hands or words!!! We let ds type because it helps him get the thoughts out (he and I started out with taking turns with a timer which helped since on my turn I could get much more into the doc). Dh also gave him a little tape recorder to use for that so he can say it in and we can replay to type.
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