Many children develop a stutter as they become increasingly verbal. For many, this tends to go away as speech becomes easier and less unfamiliar.
For a few kids, however, the stutter stays put well into adolescence and beyond.
Speech impediments can cause a lot of frustration, anxiety and embarrassment in kids and teenagers and this can have social and psychological impacts on the individual.
There are things you can do to minimise the chance that the stutter will affect your child for longer than their childhood years. Here are the best strategies:
Understanding stuttering and what it looks like for your child is the best way to tackle it.
There are a few different types of stuttering, which includes:
- Repeating sounds, syllables or words (A-a-and)
- Prolonging sounds (Aaaaaand)
- Blocked speech (the child intends to speak but no sound comes out)
Usually, children develop a stutter between the ages of 2 and 4. If the stutter is developed at 4, it is more likely to mean that it will persist in their speech rather than become more fluent.
Additionally, your child is more likely to stutter if there is a family history, they have stuttered for longer than six months or have an existing language disorder.
If this is the case, you should listen for the stutter should it develop and take appropriate action.
Create a Relaxed Environment
While doctors don’t know the exact cause of a stutter, there are different triggers that set it off for each child too.
These will be unique to the child, but could include:
- Anxiety or excitement
- Certain situations
While these things can be unavoidable, creating a relaxed environment when your child is communicating can be hugely beneficial to their development.
To do this, you can praise them when they talk smoothly, rephrase questions as comments to reduce communication stress, and be patient with them to finish their word or sentence.
Talk About The Stutter
Don’t let your child’s stutter become a taboo subject that they don’t feel comfortable talking about or become insecure of.
When they stutter or if they mention their stutter, make sure you address it in a positive way.
Let them know that it is okay that they have ‘bumpy’ speech. This will help to combat any anxiety or self-esteem issues that might arise as a result of the disfluency.
Seek Professional Help
When you notice that your child has developed a stutter, it is essential that you take them to see a speech pathologist.
To find a pathologist, you can talk to your healthcare provider for recommendations or check out the Lidcombe Program. This program is most effective with children under the age of 6, so it is important that you intervene early.
Talk To Your Childcare Providers
Unfortunately, a child with a stutter can become the target of bullying at their school or childcare.
In order to promote an accepting environment that is free from teasing, make sure your child’s teachers are aware and educated.
At Haven, we aim to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all of our children. Our team is more than happy to assist your child’s development in any way we can.
Contact Us today for any and all enquiries.