Stuttering is an interruption of the normal flow of speech. It may take on many different patterns, such as sound, syllable, or word being repeated or prolonged. This may be accompanied by struggling behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips. Stuttering is also known as dysfluency or stammering.
The exact cause of stuttering is unknown. In general, there are three types:
Recent studies suggest that genetics plays a role. It is likely that individuals who stutter inherit traits that predispose them to the risk of developing stuttering.
How do I know if my child is stuttering?
We all stutter at times. However, true stuttered speech includes frequent repetitions of words or parts of words, as well as prolongations of speech sounds.
Some people who stutter appear very tense or “out of breath” when talking. Speech may become completely stopped or blocked.
Blocked is when the mouth is positioned to say a sound, sometimes for several seconds, with little or no sound forthcoming. After some effort, the person may complete the word. Interjections such as "um" or "like" can occur, as well. They may be, used intentionally to delay the initiation of a word the speaker expects to "get stuck on."
What do I do if my child has a problem with stuttering?
If you think your child has a problem with stuttering, contact your doctor, particularly if there is:
There is no cure for stuttering; however, with treatment, children can learn to control their stuttering. The prognosis for every child is different depending on a variety of factors, including severity of the disorder, cause of the disorder, age at intervention, response to treatment, overall health, and external support system (parents, school, etc.).
Specific activities that a person finds challenging vary among individuals. The impact of stuttering on daily life can be affected by how the person and others react to the disorder.
Some people try to limit their activities due to concerns about how others may react. Others try to hide their stuttering by rearranging words in a sentence, pretending to forget what they wanted to say, or declining to speak. Others may find they are excluded from participating in certain activities because of stuttering.
Our therapists will use parent instruction and structured play tasks to improve a child’s fluency in home and community environments. We will provide education about stuttering, work with you and your child to help reduce the frequency of stuttering, improve coping skills to decrease the tension around stuttering, and assist with enhancing a child’s other verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
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Courage Kenny Kids
Sara Rohde, OTR/L, manager, Courage Kenny Kids