Stuttering is a speech disorder commonly seen in children in the age group of 2 to 5 years. A stuttering kid experiences difficulty while speaking. Early signs of stuttering include repetition of sound in a word, especially those starting with consonants like k, g and t (e.g. tu-tu-tummy). Gradually, the kid takes longer to speak a word (e.g. mmmmmummy).
Sometimes there is forceful throw of words with an explosive sound as if the word is stuck in his mouth or the child is not able to speak out the words. All this leads to interruption in the flow of words while speaking or leads to disfluency in toddlers. The toddler also tends to use frequent filler words such as ’um’, ‘ah’ while talking. The stuttering problem becomes noticeable when the child is learning to speak, which is between 2 to 5 years.
What is the difference between stuttering and stammering?
In the past, the term stammering was used to denote stressful blockage of words and stuttering was used for repetition of words. Currently, stammering is no longer used for describing any speech disorder. Instead, stuttering is used as a single term to describe both forms of speech disorders.
No specific reasons have been identified for stuttering in young children. Research reports that stuttering or stammering runs in the family, showing the role of genes as the causative factor for stammering.
Stammering is common in children whose parents have had a similar childhood problem. Emotional stress increases stuttering in children, which may arise by interacting with dominating family members. Boys are more likely to suffer from stammering as compared to girls. Stammering or stuttering usually stops as the child grows old. In a few cases, it may continue to stay in adult life. Stammering or stuttering is called developmental stuttering when it occurs during the speech development stage, which is between 2 to 5 years of age.
Speech involves development of various connections among different areas of the brain that orchestrate muscles and movements of of breathing, throat, lips, palate and vocal cords. A problem in coordination at any of the levels of speech production leads to difficulty in fluent speech. Research studies also reveal that development of language is poor in stuttering kids.
Acquired stuttering or neurogenic stuttering arises after an injury to the brain due to stroke, head injury, disorders of the nervous system, or certain medications.
There is no direct cure for stuttering speech in children, but different measures can help the child to overcome the problem.
Treatment for shuttering in children chiefly involves speech therapy. Speech therapy is recommended in kids stuttering for 3 to 6 months, develop struggle behaviours and have a strong family history of stuttering. Starting speech therapy in the early stage can prevent developmental stuttering in children.
Few stuttering tips for parents to be followed at home can help in increasing the efficacy of speech therapy.
Other measures used in the treatment for stammering in adult, older children include the following:
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Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: Does your Child need Speech Therapy?
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