This article presents an overview of the problem of stammering in children. Treating these children properly and understanding their problems helps in a quick recovery.
Stammering is a speech disorder characterized by occurrence of involuntary repetitions while speaking. This disorder is mostly observed in children. A person suffering from this problem might pause frequently while speaking. He might also prolong words, syllables, sounds, phrases, etc. Also called stuttering, around 20% of children are said to suffer from it. The problem is chronic in 1% of children. Parents should take children to experts if this problem continues for more than a month. Stammering, if not dealt in a timely manner, can extend into adulthood.
- It is seen that children suffering with stammering generally have a close relative with the same problem. This means that certain, specific genes might be responsible for this disorder.
- Problems in transmission of signals between speech nerves and the brain result in neurogenic stuttering. Thus, a brain injury or stroke can also cause stammering. In a few cases, lesions are developed in the brain’s motor speech area.
- Developmental stuttering is a condition in which children tend to stammer because they want to speak fast, even though their speech and language skills are still in the developing stage. However, this problem doesn’t stay for long and the child speaks fluently after a certain age.
Earlier, psychological factors such as embarrassment, stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, etc., were considered potential causes of stammering in children. However, there was a slight mistake in understanding, as the problems mentioned above are actual, scientific signs associated with stammering.
Dealing with Children who Stammer
Teachers and parents with their supportive behavior can take care of this problem. The following points should be helpful in the treatment. First, consult an expert. Speech therapy activities recommended by this expert should be carried out regularly and consistently. Other suggestions:
- If your child is suffering from this disorder, make sure that when he’s talking, you don’t finish/complete words for him. Give him enough time to finish his sentences.
- Don’t ask him to speak slowly; he should be allowed to speak without fear. Ask his teachers to also follow this advice.
- If you or anyone else doesn’t force him to hurry up, he’ll start focusing on speaking correctly, without any pressure, and will thus make lesser mistakes.
- Maintain a normal eye contact with him while he speaks. Don’t start engaging yourself in other work, assuming he’ll take time to finish.
Your speech expert will provide more techniques that will aid in your child’s speech development. These differ from case to case.
Along with speech therapy, meditation and yoga can also be of help. However, seek expert guidance in practicing yoga. It might take some time for your child to start speaking properly. Be patient with him till then, follow the advice given above, and the results will be for you to see.