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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When your child St St Stutters

Mother encouraging son who stutters

What is Stuttering?

It is a form of speech dysfluency, that is, an interruption in the flow of speech. As preschoolers learn to talk, they may repeat or prolong certain syllables, words or phrases, mispronounce words, pause in the middle of sentences or be unable to say certain sounds.

This is a normal stage of speech development referred to as pseudo-stuttering, which will usually go away by age five, as children learn how to coordinate the muscles used for talking.

Pseudo-stuttering is most noticeable when children are tired, anxious or excited. Usually these children are not conscious of their dysfluency and are not emotionally affected by it.

However, if a child has longer or more frequent repetition of some syllables or words, she is then experiencing true stuttering.

Children with true stuttering may also outgrow it as they sharpen their communication skills over time, but they are usually concerned, frustrated and embarrassed by this difficulty. Some may even develop a fear or speaking.

The Causes of Stuttering

It is not known what exactly causes some children to stutter. However, studies show that young children stutter because they are developing their language skills, but their thoughts come faster than they can express them.

Other factors that have been attributed by experts:

1. Genetics - A child is more likely to stutter if a parent stutters. More than 50% of those who stutter have a close family member who stutter.

2. Stress - Changes such as a new childcare centre, moving house, a new sibling etc. may stress a child enough to stutter.

3. The brain's abnormal processing of language - There's problem with the way the brain's messages interact with the muscles and body part required for speech

4. Other speech/language problems or development delays.

When and where to seek help.

Whenever you suspect that your child has true stuttering, you should observe ans monitor his progress regularly.

Some signs of a more severe problems you should take note of with your child are:

* Stuttering in more than half of the sentences, with multiple repetitions ( more than 3 or 4 repetitions of each syllable), and frequent "blockage" (when no sound comes out despite clear effort).

* Stuttering is consistent and persist for more than six months.

* Negative emotional responses from your child, such as turning red, avoidance of speech, and self-depreciating remarks.

* Increased facial tension or tightness in the speech muscles and facial or body movements along with the stuttering

* Vocal tension resulting in rising pitch or loudness

There are several treatment approaches to stuttering today, one of which is to seek help from a qualified speech therapist.

Severe stuttering can affect your child's learning and confidence level. Here are some Tips for helping stuttering children

Taking turns to speak

* Listen patiently and try to make out what your child is saying.

* Instructions should be kept short and simple.

* Time should be allowed for your child to express herself.

* Establish a family rule that everyone has to take turns and wait until the other person has finished before speaking.

* Don't allow teasing about the problem.

* Praise your child for her efforts to learn

* Plan fun things you can do together, focusing on your child's interest and letting her take the lead.

* Keep a relaxed and predictable schedule, with plenty of time for relaxation and sleep.

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Blogger Kidazy said...

I used to work with a little boy who had a very strong stutter and most of the times all he needed was a reminder to stop and take a breath and relax. It can be so frustrating for them though!

February 28, 2008 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger -Wendy- said...

I used to lisp as a kid. good thing i overcame it. hope my kids don't get it though.

March 3, 2008 at 10:06 PM  

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