The development of speech is an important aspect of a child’s growth. Many children face problems with the pronunciation of syllables during the ages of two to five years. One of the most common problems faced by children is stuttering disorder. If you are a parent whose child is facing this difficulty then read on to know how you can aid your child’s stammering treatment.
Causes of Stuttering in Children
Stuttering and stammering are two names for the same condition, the former is an American variant while the latter is a British one. Stammering is a speech disorder that makes it difficult for a person to speak certain words with fluency and clarity. People with stuttering speech find it difficult to converse with a normal flow of words as their speech gets disrupted. Though still in use, stuttering is not used as the diagnostic term anymore, the medical term for this condition is Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder according to DSM-5.
Children who stammer often have to repeat syllables to complete a word and take a long time to enunciate words. Stuttering is a disorder with no pinpointed or definitive causes. Some factors might lead to the development of stammering speech in a child:
- The child may develop a stuttering disorder if there is a family history of it.
- Children who stutter for 6 months or longer during the speech development phase can sometimes grow a long-term habit of it.
- Other speech or language disorders in a child can also be one of the causes of stuttering.
Stuttering occurs when there is some kind of error that delays the message a child’s brain sends to the muscles involved in speech.
Stress or anxiety is not a cause for stuttering and stammering but stress can worsen the condition. Stuttering may build up over time or even affect a child very suddenly. The peak time for a child to develop this problem is when they start to learn and pronounce complex words and create longer sentences.
How Can Stammering Affect Your Child?
Stammering can mentally affect a child and lead to low self-esteem and anxiety. It has been observed that peers often ridicule a child with speech difficulties such as a stuttering disorder. Here are some of the ways that this speech difficulty can affect your child:
- The major effect of stuttering is that it can make a child feel different from others, aloof and frustrated.
- Your child might avoid speaking much and refrain from socialising.
- Your child may feel more self-conscious and develop anxiety issues carried on later into life.
- They might also face difficulty making friends and feel more and more isolated.
- It can also affect their relationship making skills since conversation feels like a hindrance to a child who stammers.
- As speaking in front of people can feel like a nightmare to them, they may avoid engaging in skill set development that involves public speaking.
Ways in Which You Can Help Your Child Overcome Stuttering
Stuttering is not an uncommon disorder and a large number of people face it at some point in their lives. To help your child overcome their stuttering speech you will require patience, kindness and understanding. Here are some ways in which you can help with your child’s stammering treatment:
- Listen to what your child has to say
If your child is facing a stuttering disorder you will have to be extra attentive towards what they are saying. When they are stammering it is important to take time and let them finish their sentences so that you can understand what they are saying. Taking time to closely pay attention to their speech makes a child feel heard and boosts their confidence. When you do this exercise each time they speak and do not ask them to repeat frequently the child will not feel as if something is wrong with them.
- Let them use a communication style that makes them feel comfortable
It can be difficult to communicate with a child who stammers during their speech development phase. Stammering treatment starts at home and you should allow your child to converse at a pace that is comfortable to them, instead of forcing upon any other model of communication. If your child is speaking either slowly or very fast you should not try to correct it at this stage as it can build up more tension in their mind.
- Do not discourage them or constantly correct their speech
A stuttering child is often criticised and corrected whenever they speak, causing a lot of trauma to them. This may lower their confidence. Always keep a positive attitude around your child and respond positively even if you do have to correct them at times. Constant correction of their speech will not make the problem go away, thus it is important to keep encouraging them throughout.
- Try to avoid any attention to the disorder
A great way to make your child feel less conscious about their stuttering disorder is to not put special attention to it. Treat stuttering as a normal way of speaking if your child is suffering from it. When they notice that there is not much attention on their disorder, it becomes easier to recover from it.
- Make time for one on one sessions with your child
Take time out and engage in one on one bonding sessions with your child. Maintain eye contact when they are speaking as this can help them feel more important and boost their confidence. Help them address their difficulties in a gradual manner.
If your child faces a stammering speech you should also visit a speech therapist for effective stammering treatment. A speech therapist can help you correctly address how to help your child overcome their difficulty. If you stay patient throughout the process and support your child with the tips in the article, you can help your child overcome the disorder quickly. It is vital to remind your child that they are not the only ones who stammer and it is nothing to feel bad or ashamed about!
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.