Childhood Disorders: Stuttering

Children are often bullied for a variety of reasons or maybe no reason at all. The playground can be a place of fun and games or hurtful words and slander. Unfortunately, there always has been and always will be childhood bullying. One childhood condition that can be the cause of such bullying is stuttering. Does your child or someone you know of have a stuttering disorder? Let’s look a bit deeper into what exactly stuttering is and what you can do to help.

What is stuttering?

We have all heard someone who stutters but what exactly is a stuttering disorder? The American Speech, Language, Hearing Association states that stuttering is caused by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, or what they call, ‘speech disfluencies’. We all stutter from time to time whether we repeat a syllable or insert “um” or “uh” into our speech. Those who suffer from a true stuttering disorder experience these disfluencies in their everyday speech making it hard to communicate effectively. For some individuals the stuttering occurs all of the time, but for others it occurs only at certain times such as talking on the phone or in front of crowds.

Childhood Stuttering

According to KidsHealth.org most children experience some type of stuttering between the ages of 2 and 5 but some children continue to have a stuttering disorder that affects them into adulthood. Often when children enter school and begin practicing their socialization skills, the stuttering will disappear. If, however, the stuttering continues, speaking to your child’s doctor and getting a referral to a Speech-Language Pathologist is suggested.

How Can Parents Help?

There are a variety of things a parent can do to help their child outside of the various therapies the child might attend. The Center for Stuttering in Colorado suggests not drawing attention to or correcting the stuttering when speaking to the child. Encourage the child to use relaxed speech and simpler sentences. Always praise the child for their hard work and accomplishments when it comes to their speech and the therapies they might participate in.

Your child’s first words are one of the most anticipated events of a parent’s life. Getting a glimpse into your child’s mind as their vocabulary expands is an exciting time for everyone. When this time is overshadowed by stuttering, it is understandable to feel concerned. The Stuttering Foundation has a list of six factors that may indicate whether your child is at risk for chronic stuttering. Childhood stuttering may only be a phase for your child but it is important to understand how to help them through this time.

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