Stuttering, also known by the name of stammering, is a speech disorder that signifies disrupted flow of speech by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, along with involuntary silent pauses or blocks. It is also referred to as 'verbal non-fluency,' which is wider term for such speech impediments. Usually small children, from the age group of 2 to 5, are seen facing the speech dysfluency, such as stuttering. At times, stuttering goes away after the age of five, while in some cases it lasts longer. Though there is no specific treatment for stuttering, it can be eliminated by helping and supporting your child in overcoming the problem.
There are a number of reasons, which can cause the problem of stuttering in children. Some of the major ones are:
- Genetics - It is believed that about 60% of those who stutter have a close family member suffering from the same problem.
- Some other speech and language problems or developmental delays are also considered responsible for stuttering.
- Differences in the brain’s processing of language are also deemed to be probable reasons for the disorder. Usually, people who stutter, process language in different areas of the brain. The problem lies with the way the brain's messages interact with the muscles and body parts required for speaking.
Handling Child Speech Stuttering
In case your child is suffering the speech disorder, given below are some tips to enable you to handle situation better.
- Speak slowly to your child, so that he feels less rushed.
- Give proper attention to your child when he speaks. Show interest in what he is saying. Maintain an eye contact even if his speech is slow.
- Do not pressurize you child for anything. Give him time to reply to your queries.
- Make sure your child sleeps well in the night, as stuttering can be made worse by lack of sleep.
- Don't treat a child who stutters differently to his/her siblings. This will aggravate the condition further.
- Appreciate your child on his achievements and show affection.
- Do not correct him or interrupt him when he is talking.
- Don't make him practice certain words or sounds. Let him learn on his own.
- Try to minimize stressful situations, as they make the stuttering worse.