Many toddlers face the stuttering problem and even renowned personalities like Winston Churchill and Ed Sheeran have also faced this problem in their childhood. But it is hard to tell whether your child is really stuttering or is it part of the usual development where initially it is hard for kids to speak out words properly.
What are Typical Disfluencies?
The most common disfluency in young children is repetition of words and phrases. Before the age of five, children are likely to be both fluent and disfluent. It is during this time that children are learning the rules of language. And while learning it is okay to have disruptions.
How to know it is stuttering?
If you see that the speaking disfluencies are not going away after a short time and the stuttering persists, then it is time to get worried. With stammering, unlike other speaking disfluencies, your child will hold on the first alphabet of the word long. Instead of saying “Sometimes”, he would say “Sssssss-ss-ometimes”. Children with stammering problem also have other mannerisms like they would twist their face a certain way or blink their eye. Their mouth would get tense and they might avoid eye contact while speaking.
There are many factors involved which can cause fluency problems in children. Family history is one of the biggest factors. If the child has a family history of either the parents or someone in their family having a stammering problem, you can predict disfluency early on. Gender is also a big factor since young boys have 50% more chances of stammering than girls. Elementary-age boys are also four times as likely to have a speaking disfluency than girls. If your children is having stammering even at the age of 4, you can predict that the stammer could be persistent. Younger children can overcome the stammering problem easily.
Where to get help?
Even a paediatrician can suggest a simple speech and language evaluation. Get a proper evaluation done early on from a certified pathologist.
Speech-language pathologist can also help with the further course of action. You can also enrol your child in a fluency treatment service.
There are two major treatment options:
A speech-language pathologist can help the child’s parents in modifying their own way of communication to have an indirect impact on the child’s stammer.
Another way is for the pathologist to work with the child and brief him with speech strategies to develop fluency.
Parents can also help:
Parents can help with a child’s stammering by reducing the stress of communication and avoid putting the child in speaking situations. Talk to your child about their stammer and let them know that it is okay. Be patient.