Certain early speech patterns of youngsters can be mistaken for stuttering, but sharp listening skills can help parents know if there is a reason for concern.
Dr. David B. Rosenfield, a neurologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, lists five hallmarks of stuttering:
Stumbling on a sound five times or more: b-b-b-b-b-ball.
Adding a sound that does not belong or a sound other than the intended vowel: ba-ba-ba-book.
Getting out the beginning of a word but pausing before completing it.
Struggling at getting words started.
Revising or switching words in mid-sentence: "I want a gl-cup of water."