To help stuttering in kids, one need to understand a few basics like, What is stuttering, What are the causes, When to seek help on communication difficulties (How to improve communication skills in children) and what you can do at home to help…
Here are a few pointers if you have communication problems or stuttering in a child …
Stuttering in kids - what this means actually
Stammering or stuttering in kids is a kind of speech disorder that affects kids generally between 2 and 7 years of age when speech develops.
If this situation arise, parents need to take immediate action and see a speech pathologist to identify if there is a problem.
Child care for such children has a few unusual steps but with expert help at the right time, most children can outgrow these problems.
Many kids overcome this issue in a few years but for some, this problem stays causing a concern.
When a baby starts speaking, she will often fumble with certain words or pronunciation or may repeat herself trying to master speech.
This is most definitely not a disorder and all of us would have done this in childhood.
So how do we know in the earliest time possible that there might be a problem.
Even a doctor or speech specialist will ask you several questions about your child to understand if there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
7 signs that you need to observe in the early years.
1. Starting a sentence is a struggle for the child.
2. The child repeats while pronouncing a few sounds. Specially consonants. The child is visibly stressed while uttering these sounds.
3. Avoids situations where he might need to speak.
4. Blinks eyes, face is tensed, lips are tightened while speaking.
5. While speaking a sentence, rearranges words.
6. Using lots of fillers in a sentence always.
7. Disruption in the flow of speech and words spoken in spurts.
Stuttering in kids - Some important facts
Stammering can be the cause of the following reasons broadly:
1. For some kids, stuttering or stammering is just because they are developing.
Along with the body and the mind, speech is also a developmental aspect.
Kids who start stuttering just at the time of speech development may find it difficult to pronounce certain words and that may cause them to stutter.
This is the stammering or stuttering that is “DEVELOPMENTAL”.
2. Sometimes, stuttering in kids can be a “NEUROGENIC” disorder as well.
When the brain signals are weak and interrupts with speech development, it can result in breaking the flow of speech.
This kind of speech disorder or stammering needs medical supervision and intervention to get resolved in most cases.
3. “ PSYCHOLOGICAL” stuttering may occur in some kids that may arise from stress and trauma.
Tensed family environment, any trauma that is witnessed in early childhood, death of closed ones or any other environmental factors that may cause the kid to be under extreme pressure for a continued period of time.
It may cause psychological problems which may become chronic later.
4. Family history or GENETICS. If the family has a history of earlier generations having speech problems, kids may have higher chance of stuttering.
5. Stammering is seen more in boys than girls.
What to do if a child is showing signs of stammering
Consult a speech therapist who will access if there is a problem and guide you accordingly.
In most cases, stuttering in kids can overcome with time. Speech therapy can help resolve this issue faster in some cases.
If there is a family history of stammering or the child is getting emotionally disturbed or struggling a lot to express or having prolonged period of stammering, Speech therapy may be a good idea.
You can also get yourselves counseled with therapists so that they can help the child.
There are some studies that may recommend medications or brain stimulation or acupuncture, but there is no established technique that is fool proof or approved globally.
You need to understand that it is a kind of condition which may be partially or fully resolved with environmental factors. Though one must visit a speech therapist to ensure if professional help is needed.
Help stuttering in kids
Stuttering in kids may be a very independant problem and may not always resolve on its own. So lets not wait.
Along with visiting a speech pathologist, you can try maintaining the following things to help with stuttering in kids.
What you can do
1. The most important thing that everyone will advise is to create a stress free environment for the child.
Never allow arguments, screaming, Scolding or other behavioral negativity in the presence of children who have stuttering problem.
Such incidences create stress on the child and may worsen this problem.
2. Talk slowly with your child and advise him that it is absolutely fine to talk slowly.
3. Teach breathing techniques to the child. If possible, take health classes that teach how to perform different breathing techniques or even yoga.
Any practice that calms the mind and aligns the body to the mind, has a calming effect on both mind and body.
4. Do not give suggestions to such kids regarding how to talk like asking them to calm down, relax, not to hurry, speak faster or clearer etc.
As a result of this kind of advice makes them conscious and result in stress.
5. Monitoring speech rate – If the child is young, you can practice pronouncing different sounds with them. Because of this they will get used to these sounds.
Different consonants and vowels to be pronounced separately while stretching them slowly first.
With some practice, you can speed up.
More to help
6. The child should get the message that communication is important and not the way it is spoken.
Wait for him to finish and never complete his sentences.
Stammering is not a crime and people still understand what they say.
7. Self-help groups help a lot in such cases. Get kids involved in some such groups. This makes them feel they are not alone and gives them confidence.
8. Listen to the child with care and respond to whatever they speak. Do not focus on the way it is being spoken. Give them attention when they speak.
9. Children are honest and impressionable.
They may be hurt or sad if they feel they are different or with some incident.
Talk to them frankly with care that it is ok to have some struggles in life and they can be resolved.
By doing these things consistantly, let them know you are their support system.
10. Check out dedicated websites that are built to help with this condition and look for help and support on various things related to this problem. They also have people you can connect with and groups you can share your problems with to understand how others are reacting to speech issues such as stammering.
See a speech pathologist - Do not wait
Since this is a condition that happens in limited kids, they may find it difficult to connect or make friends.
It becomes important for us parents to fill that gap where kids at times may feel lonely. In my experience, the few kids with such conditions I have seen, felt that they are very lonely as they avoid speaking.
As parents, teachers, adults who are around these young hearts, need to understand them and support them at all cost.
It is a feeling of self sufficiency in them and they are at least willing to communicate more.
This willingness is what they need. Confident and complex free kids can overcome this condition much faster.
A speech pathologist can help and most definitely will fasten the process of betterment. Remember they will have the experience to deal with this, data to understand the sevirety of the issue and ways to tackle it. Speech therapists and pathologists are trained for years to deal with these problems.
Let us all give them a joyride in the journey of life and kill all negativity around them.
These kid need it…
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are stuttering and stammering the same thing?
Stuttering and stammering are two different words. Stuttering is a temporary, involuntary, and short-lived stoppage of the speech flow. Stuttering is the outcome of a physical problem. Stuttering has a negative impact on the child's growth, development, and self-esteem.
2. Are stuttering genetic?
Stuttering is not genetic, and can be caused by a number of factors, including neurological problems, severe emotional stress, or exposure to toxins.
3. Can stuttering be cured in kids?
Stuttering can be cured. Your child can have speech therapy and learn to speak more clearly.