Is Your Child Stuttering?
Between the ages of 2-5 many children go through a period of normal stuttering as they learn to speak. This disruption in the normal patterns of the speech may come and go. Stuttering can increase when your child is tired, excited, uncomfortable or upset. Stuttering – an interruption in the flow of speech is a form of dysfluency. This involves various breaks, irregularities or repeating.
Few causes for stuttering
- Genetics – A family history of stuttering
- High/increased activity level
- Rapid rate of speech
- Differences in bran’s processing the language
- Development delays
- High family expectations
For many children stuttering disappears on its own by age of 5 and for some it lasts longer. For many children stuttering is not going to be a lifelong problem. But, even a milder stuttering is a major distress for parents.
There is no cure for stuttering. But, there are effective treatments that you can do to help your child to overcome this hurdle.
- Speak in an unhurried way
It is really important to reduce the pace while taking. Although, child's stuttering makes you feel stressed, try to be calm down. Speak in an unhurried way with plenty of spaces in between what you are talking. Don’t speak so slowly that sounds abnormal, but keep it unhurried. Pause frequently, letting your child to process what you are telling. Children need lots of time to talk. Therefore, when your child is talking, encourage them also to slow down. This helps them to think what sort of idea they want to tell us.
- Listen attentively
Not only with stuttering children, listening is a very vital skill you need to practice with all your children. When your child is talking, stop what you are doing and give them full listening. Maintaining eye contact plays a major role in listening. If your child is struggling to convey the message, use facial expressions and show them that you are listening and you are really interested in what they are telling. This will encourage them to give the message fully. If you are not listening they will avoid talking.
- Asking questions
Be mindful when asking questions from your child. Ask one question at a time. Don’t ask another question before they finish answering the first question. Sometimes, if they take lots of time to answer the question, we may ignore the question and try to ask another one. Don’t do that. Let them to take their time and finish what they want to tell. Also, avoid complicated questions and ask open ended questions. Give them some tips to answer the question.
- Avoid talking when stuttering
Avoid talking when stuttering increases. Instead, encourage your child to do other activities which invoices less talking.
- Special time
Take time out of your busy schedule and spend time with your child. Even a little time you actively spend with your child affects a lot. Pay attention to your child without any interruptions. Switch off laptops, mobile phones and TVs and make them feel that your child have your full attention. This special time should not be a very long one as long as your child gets your undivided attention. Do little activities with your child in that time like, play with the child, read a book together or talk about the day.
- Don’t criticise your child’s way of talking and don’t try to correct him always.
- When stuttering becomes a problem don’t force your child to interact verbally with other people.
- Avoid reacting negatively when your child stutters
When to consult a doctor?
- Your child is over 5 years old and still stuttering
- If your child stutters more than 10% of her speech
- Avoid situations that require talking
- Demonstrating considerable effort and tension in trying to speak
- Repetition of whole words or phrases become excessive
- Increased facial tension or tightness
- Pitch of the voice may rise with repetitions
- Avoid stuttering by changing words, stop talking or using extra sound to start talking
- Facial or body movements along with the stuttering
- Frequent stuttering and gets worse with time
- Issues in overall child’s development along with stuttering
Keep in mind. Your child is still learning to talk. Hence, it doesn’t need to be correct always. Allow talking to be fun, relaxed and enjoyable for them. Try not to be upset or annoyed when stuttering increases. Your child trying her best to learn the language and your patient and accepting attitude will help her enormously. Don’t let your child feel frustrated or upset when stuttering increases.