What is stuttering?
Stuttering is a disorder of fluency – in other words, it disrupts the rhythmic flow of speech. It is the repetition, pause or prolongation of speech sounds, words or sentences. People who stutter can usually understand language well and know what they want to say and how to say it ,they just have difficulty getting their speech out
What causes stuttering?
We know that stuttering can run in the family, however unfortunately, we are not yet sure of what causes it. This is despite the huge amount of research that has been done.
Stuttering in children
For many children, childhood stuttering begins at around 3-3.5 years old, although this does vary . While anxiety and excitement does not cause childhood stuttering, we know that for a child who stutters, anxiety and excitement can increase their stuttering.
Different types of stutters
<p”>There are many types of stutters, some common types can include:
- Repetitions of speech sounds, words or phrases: “s-s-s-sally wants to play”, “I want the the the yellow one please”, “they are they are they are happy”.
- Blocks where there is a gap or pause in the child’s speech: “she g-ot the Apple”
- Prolongation where a sound is lengthened: “the aaaaaaaanimal is hungry”
How can stuttering impact my child?
Having a stutter can be frustrating for a child. Some children become very aware of their stutter and that they sound different to their peers. This especially happens when peers point it out or when peers are not patient enough to wait and listen to understand what the child is saying. This can cause anxiety within that child and we see that this can be cause for a child withdrawing from social interactions and play with peers. When a child withdraws from social settings, they miss out on important opportunities in play and in the classroom to develop social skills, language and literacy.
What should I do if I think my child has a stutter?
Early intervention is key, so the earlier you get help for your child, the better the outcomes are likely to be. While there is no ‘cure’ for stuttering, there are evidenced based therapy programs that significantly reduce stuttering and increase stutter-free speech.
Talk to a speech and language pathologist ASAP to discuss your concerns about your child’s speech and potential stuttering. Our Speech Therapy programs at the Lizard Centre can help effectively manage childhood stuttering. Get in touch today!