Stuttering is an interruption of the normal flow of speech, which takes on many different patterns. Commonly, it involves either saying a string of repeated sounds or making abnormal pauses during speech. In early childhood, stuttering is sometimes part of normal speech development. In fact, about 5% of all young children go through a brief period of stuttering when they are learning to talk. Stuttering typically is first noticed between the ages of 2 and 5. It usually goes away on its own within a matter of months. In a small number of children (around 1%), stuttering continues and may get worse. Boys are more likely to stutter than girls. Researchers still are trying to determine why stuttering occurs.
In addition, normal problems with fluency tend to come and go, or happen only at certain times (such as when a child is tired or excited), but true stuttering is present most of the time. Once a child begins to stutter, he or she may feel embarrassed, self-conscious or anxious when asked to speak. The child may find it hard to socialize with friends and also may intentionally avoid situations where talking is expected, such as telephone calls, classroom discussions and school plays. Somewhat unexpectedly, many children who stutter have no problem when they sing.
Four hundred fifty-two invasive pneumococcal infections were diagnosed in 1985 through 1989. The annual incidence rate was 8.9 per 100,000 children less than 16 years of age (24.2 per 100,000 among children less than 5 years of age and 45.3 per 100,000 among those less than 2 years of age). The most common clinical entities were bacteremia without focus (310 cases), pneumonia (66 cases), and meningitis (51 cases), with other focal infections seen in 25 cases.