(HealthDay News) – Although about one in 10 children stutter by the time they reach preschool, children who stutter have normal social and emotional development and have better verbal and nonverbal skills than their non-stuttering peers, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in Pediatrics.

Sheena Reilly, PhD, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues analyzed the natural history of stuttering among 1,619 Australian children from 8 months to 4 years of age.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of stuttering was 11.2% by 4 years of age. Only 6.3% of children recovered within 12 months of onset. Stuttering was significantly more common in males, twins, and in those whose mothers were college-educated. Children who stuttered had significantly stronger language skills and nonverbal cognition, and better health-related quality of life, but were otherwise similar to non-stuttering children in temperament and social-emotional development.

“Although stuttering onset is common in preschoolers, adverse [effects] are not the norm in the first year after onset,” Reilly and colleagues conclude.

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