Stuttering in young children is not uncommon at all. In fact, may children between the ages of two and five will stutter, simply because they are learning the ins and outs of speech.
Usually, this type of stuttering disappears around age five, without any intervention. If your child is younger than five, you probably don’t have much to worry about. Talk to the pediatrician but don’t be surprised if she advises you wait for a few years to see if the problem disappears spontaneously.
If your child is older than five and is still stuttering, you will want a little more information.
What Causes Stuttering
Stuttering is caused by several different factors, and out of those, genetics is the primary cause. Sixty percent of children who stutter have a blood relative who also stutters. The other two causes of stuttering are:
- Developmental delays and/or other types of speech and language problems.
- The way the brain processes language is often different for people who stutter. Their brain doesn’t interact in the same way with the muscles and body parts necessary for speaking.
What to Do About Stuttering
You will want to talk to your pediatrician if your child is five or older and is still stuttering. In addition, if your child exhibits the following issues when he or she speaks, you may want to consult with a speech therapist:
- If his repetition of whole words and/or phrases increases or is excessive.
- If any sound or syllable repetition increases in frequency.
- If her speech becomes strained and she has to put a lot of effort into speaking.
- If there is an increase in the prolongations of words.
- If there are facial and/or body movements that occur along with the stuttering.
- If there is increased facial tension.
- If he avoids situations where he would have to talk.
- If she is increasingly uncomfortable about speaking.
When your child stutters, there is the tendency to correct him or to try to hurry him along. By allowing the act of talking to be fun and stress-free for your child, he will feel more comfortable with himself. This is important, as it increases his sense of self in a positive manner. Also, when you’re talking with your child, remember to speak clearly and to maintain eye contact.
In situations where other people hear your child speak, you will probably want to fill in the gaps for her when she is stuttering. Avoid this tendency; instead let your child speak for herself. Otherwise, she may begin to feel the she can’t talk to other people if she stutters.
Stuttering is a common dilemma many parents and children face. You, and your child, are not alone! By getting the advice of your child’s doctor, you can find the right treatment for him.