What is stuttering? Stuttering is when fluent speech becomes broken up by repetition of sounds, syllables, words; interruptions known as blocks; or prolongations of sounds.
When does it begin? It is developmentally appropriate for stuttering to occur between 2-5 years old. During this period children’s language is growing in complexity and length, thus stuttering is expected as they maneuver through this process. It is recommended that you seek therapeutic assistance when stuttering persists past 6 months. At this point, it may be a consistent occurrence that your child will have a harder time moving past as they continue to develop and grow.
Why does stuttering happen? It can be related to a family history of stuttering, it can be developmental, or it can be from an environmental change.
How can therapy help? A speech therapist can work with stuttering two different ways. For children who are not aware that they are stuttering, an indirect approach is recommended. An indirect approach is used because bringing awareness to the stutter can make it worse, harder to overcome, and be emotionally difficult for younger children. For children who are aware of the stutter, we recommend a direct approach. A direct approach teaches children what happens when they stutter, discusses the emotions tied with the stutter, teaches strategies to get out of a moment of stutter, and avoid a moment of stutter.
What can I do at home? There are many ways to work on improving a stutter at home.
1) have your child slow down their speech rate
2) give your child your full attention when they speak to you
3) have family members take turns in conversations
4) allow time for them to finish talking
5) reiterate what they said to you
6) compliment them when they do something helpful (i.e. I like how you carried that so carefully; I like the way you picked up your toys, it was helpful)
7) give your child their own special time with you.
We hope this helped answer your questions regarding your child’s stuttering. If you have any concerns with your child’s speech development, please call TEAM 4 Kids at 623-322-8250 to schedule an evaluation.