Is there something wrong with the way my kid talks?

Of course asking here is no substitute for seeing an expert, but I’m certain I’m just being paranoid and would rather avoid embarrassing myself, my kid and my pocketbook about this.

Here’s the deal. I wish I’d recorded and transcribed this, but at the moment what I can do is just describe what he does. (He’s five years old btw. Five years six months if it matters.) He stops after every few words and starts his sentence over again. Over and over again. Such that it will take him upwards of a minute, sometimes, to complete a sentence.

He doesn’t give me the impression that there’s some sense in which he knows exactly what he’s trying to say and is having a hard time to get it to come out of his mouth. Rather, the impression I have is that he’s basically trying to figure out what he’s trying to say. But it takes him for ever to do so.

And also, he often stops saying a word in order to take a breath, and continues the very same word once he’s taken a breath. I’ve never heard anyone else, child or adult, who does this. Like this: “Bu(breath)tton” or even “Button(breath)n”.

Anyway, just now he said something like this:

“But last night… last night when… but last night when… when I… when I um… but last night when I said I… when I said I want… but last night when I said I want… want to sleep in… um… last night when I said I want to sleep in… sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed at bedtime I… when I… last night when I said I want to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed at bedtime I didn’t mean I… um… I didn’t mean I… I didn’t mean lights-out… when I said I want to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed at bedtime I didn’t mean lights out as soon as I go to bed.”

Is this… normal? I almost hate to ask. But I listen to his friends talking and I don’t hear anything like this.

And this basically characterizes the majority of his speech.

My son will be 4 at the end of November, and he does this a bit, too. Usually only when he’s trying to explain something. If he’s answering questions or being prompted to tell a story, he’s more in control of what he’s saying.

I assumed it just had to do with them feeling emotions and thinking things, and trying to find the best way to say it at the same time.

I do this when I try to speak another language. It takes me twice as long to think than it does to speak, so…

I wouldn’t worry too much. I’d actually be rather proud that he’s so interested in expressing himself the best way possible. Logical thinking?

My kid, almost 5, does this sometimes, usually when trying to tell me something. It seems normal to me.

Okay that’s encouraging to hear.

It happens so often that it’s become a running joke around the house… and it interferes with our ability to actually understand what he’s saying. Is that the experience of any of you guys as well?

Perfectly normal- my 12 year old does it sometimes too! Kids just have trouble getting their thoughts organized at the same time they are speaking. It can really interfere with comprehension! Sometimes I just go with the flow… sometimes I would ask him/her to start over and take a minute to think about it and try again. Most of the time I try to sit on my impatience and let him get through it. It can be tough!

Keep in mind there’s a difference between doing it sometimes and doing it all the time.

Sounds like a stutter or perhaps an autism spectrum comorbid. If its happening all the time as AClockworkMelon said.

A comorbid is something that sometimes appears along side something else, but isnt necessarily indicative of that thing.

As an example, dyslexia is an autistic comorbid, but not all autists are dyslexic(or vice versa). I’m a non-dyslexic autist. So I am not suggesting your child is autistic.

For instance my brother who is normal enough(as far as brothers go), must enumerate all the possibilities in a list.

The other day he asked me to pick him up some lunch meat and I had to make him stop at 4 possible kinds because he would have rattled off every variety he could think of, instead of just saying “anything” or “dont get me x”. I get the impression that he is discomfited if he cant finish what he needs to say.

My sister tells long winded anecdotes and if shes interrupted, she has to start her train of thought all over again. She’ll get frustrated if you interrupt enough.

One thing particular to me is that I dont respond to verbal stimulus correctly. Such as my name being called or questions being asked. Even at times I am aware of the directed message, the automatic instinct to respond doesnt fire. Does that make sense?

None of us are very good at taking turns in conversations. I could easily go for days without saying anything. I’m a little bit non-verbal.

That makes me think of your statement about him not having a clear idea of what he wants to say. Or eprhaps how he wants to say it. It can be indicative of a low verbal proficiency(which is not indicative of low intelligence). For instance, I have a cousin by marriage who was a teacher. Her mouth parts would start going through the motions before she actually got it in gear and made the sounds.

Verbal skills can be improved easiest in childhood. I dont know anything about stutters though, but the path to learn about both are the same:

Take your kid to the family doctor and gain a referral to a child psychologist.

Of course. Didn’t say there wasn’t. OP didn’t say it was always. My young kids did it a lot. It was normal. If he’s worried he should see a speech therapist. I was relating my personal experience, as the OP requested.

Yes, it’s normal for this to happen sometimes; no it’s not normal for it to happen for every sentence he speaks. In between is a vast desert of could be normal, could not…and that’s why we have speech pathologists trained in this stuff.

For what it’s worth, you could have a chat with his teacher and see if the school will have him tested. They may even pay for it, although I suspect not until first grade, and you probably want an answer sooner than that.

Please, don’t be embarrassed. There’s no such thing as a “over reacting parent” seeking a first evaluation except in our fears. This is what speech pathologists do. It’s what they’re trained for. If no parent was concerned enough to bring their kid in for evaluation, they’d be out of work! Evaluation doesn’t mean you’ve given up on him, or even that he’ll need speech therapy - it’s admitting that this is outside the realm of your expertise and you need to consult with someone with more training for a professional opinion.

If you’d take your car to a mechanic for a funny noise you weren’t sure was a problem or not, I see no reason why you wouldn’t take your kid to a speech therapist for an evaluation.

Well said.

I’ll mention it to his teacher…

Thanks for the advice so far, everyone.

He said it was the “majority of his speech.”

My son has been evaluated for various language problems, though not the problem described in the OP. In our discussion with a psychologist, she drew the distinction between issues on the input side (can’t remember what the term for it was) and on the expressive side (output). A speech therapist is probably a good first stop for an evaluation. The school system may be able to help there, although my experience was that the school system moves like molasses going uphill on a glacier, with a load of paperwork to boot.

We have had speech evaluations done for two of our three kids. One of them turned out to have no major difficulties and was sent on her merry way. The other one was referred for a year of speech therapy that really helped him. The evaluation took a few hours, was relatively easy and fun for the kid, and was worth every second, in my opinion.

Personally, in your situation, I would call your pediatrician, mention that you have concerns, and ask for a referral to a qualified speech pathologist. Can’t hurt, can only help.

Close enough.

As in, it isn’t just something that he does every now and then, that’s the way he talks. I wouldn’t ignore it.

I used to adore reading my nephews letters out loud, All the “and then, and then we went, and then we went to town and, and …” he religiously wrote down his stream of words. He’s grown out of it now.

If you’re afraid the school route will take too long, mention it to your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to set up a referral with a speech therapist or some other professional.

The always starting over things also sounds like an OCD thing., if he seems very distressed about not being able to say it correctly. Having the finish the word, even if you ran out of breath, is something I still sometimes do.

But do note that one symptom does not a disorder make.

If your son is in school, he should be evaluated by the school’s speech therapist. They screen a lot of kids at that age, so it wouldn’t be an unusual request at all. The pediatrician may not be as well qualified to make this determination.

Almost speech therapist (only a couple of months to go!) here - what you describe does ring alarm bells for stuttering. Phrase repetitions are common young kids who stutter, and while I understand the “breathing” in the middle of a word is unusual I have seen it before in a child with a stutter.

Of course it is hard to tell exactly what is happening just from reading your post, but I would definately think a speech therapist assessment would be warrented. Especially considering his age, and that resaerch tells us stutters get much harder to overcome the older we get.

Another one for ‘get him a speech eval’.