Regardless of whether your child’s stutter is temporary or permanent, you should learn all you can so you can assist your stuttering child.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 25th Feb 2022.
Helping A Stuttering Child: Tips And Treatments For Parents
A child between the ages of 2 and 5 is likely to have a phase of transient stuttering. This is a critical period in the development of speech and language. The stutter may last a few weeks or months. While the majority of stuttering is outgrown, a stammer may sometimes last until adulthood. Regardless of whether your child's stutter is temporary or permanent, you should learn all you can so you can assist your stuttering child.
What Is Stuttering?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Disorders, stuttering is a speech problem that affects more than 3 million Americans. When regular speech is disrupted by the repeating or prolongation of particular sounds or phrases, stuttering develops. Stuttering, also known as stammering, may be moderate or severe in frequency and severity. Speaking in front of a group or on the phone may exacerbate stuttering, while singing or reading can help to alleviate it. Stress may aggravate the problem. Physical motions or movements may accompany the effort to talk.
Causes of Stuttering
Experts aren't sure what causes a child to stutter, but most think several variables contribute to the speech problem. One or more of the following may be included:
- Genetics. Stuttering has a hereditary component, according to the majority of specialists. Sixty per cent of individuals who stammer have a close relative who stutters as well.
- Developmental stuttering. Stuttering affects many young children between 18 months and two years as they develop their speech and language abilities. This kind of stuttering is typically only present for a short time.
- Factors related to the brain. People who stutter perceive language differently than individuals who do not have speech problems, according to research. There seems to be an issue with the way language is conveyed via the brain in certain instances. Scientists are baffled as to why this happens.
Risk Factors for Stuttering
How do you tell whether a stuttering child has a developmental issue or a more severe speech condition that requires treatment? The following variables, according to the Stuttering Foundation, put your child at risk:
- Family. If one or more family members stammer in maturity, your child is at a greater risk.
- Age. Children who begin stuttering before the age of 3 and a half have a higher chance of outgrowing it.
- Length of time stuttering persists. It is less likely that your child will outgrow their stuttering habit if it lasts longer than six months.
- Gender. Stuttering is three to four times as common in boys than in females.
- Other speech and language deficits. It's less likely that your child will outgrow their stutter if they have additional difficulties communicating and understanding.
Treatment for Stuttering
Many parents are hesitant to seek speech treatment for their stuttering child because they do not want their child to become more self-conscious about their speech problem. If your kid is above the age of three and has been stuttering for three to six months, experts believe you should get a speech assessment. That's because your stuttering child may be dealing with more than just a developmental issue. Find a stuttering specialist speech therapist. The therapist can assist you in determining if your child needs assistance.
Speech therapy can help most children who have been stuttering for a long time. In some instances, the issue is resolved; in others, it improves significantly. Speech treatment should increase your child's confidence as they learn to control stuttering and develop speaking abilities, regardless of the ultimate result.
Tips for Parents of a Stuttering Child
Parents may have a massive impact on how a stuttering child perceives their condition and how confident they are in communicating and being heard by others. Here are some things you can do to assist your child who is stuttering:
- To help your stuttering child, talk slowly and softly. Encourage other adults in your child's life to follow your lead.
- At home, try to keep things calm and quiet.
- Pay attention to what your kid says rather than how they say it. This will need slowing down and paying attention. When your child is talking to you, don't be impatient or irritated.
- Don't make recommendations like “slow down" or “could you say that again?"
- When your child is speaking, keep inquiries and interruptions to a minimum.
- Never bring up your child's stuttering or other speech problems.
- Make time for one-on-one time with your child every day.
- Mayo Clinic: “Stuttering in Children: Is it Normal?"
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: “Stuttering,"
- The Stuttering Foundation: “Facts on Stuttering;" “7 Ways to Help the Child Who Stutters;" “Risk Factors;" “Stuttering Therapy for Children;" “Finding Help;" “Etiology;" and “Should My Child Attend Speech Therapy?"
- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: “Stuttering (Disfluency)."
- Nemours Foundation: “Stuttering."