What Causes Stuttering?
There is a genetic component to stuttering. The origins are related to the way a child’s brain develops neural pathways for speech and language. Children undergo rapid development of speech during the preschool years; this is when stuttering can start to occur. The brain’s neural networks that are involved in speech can have difficult coordinating during this short period of time in which a child’s vocabulary increases so rapidly.
Typical Language Development vs. Stuttering
A majority of preschool-age children who stutter, about 75%, will stop stuttering without treatment. It is recommended to see a specialist if the stutter began after age three and a half or if the stutter lasts longer than six months. You may also want to visit a specialist if your child demonstrates tension or a negative attitude about speaking. Secondary characteristics related to stuttering can include purposeful eye blinking, excessive use of filler words, or changing words in the middle of a sentence.
Is It Important to Seek Treatment?
It is important to seek treatment for stuttering as early as possible. When children continue to stutter later in childhood, they can experience negative reactions from others. This might lead to the child avoiding speaking, avoid words they want to use, and holding back from saying what they want to say. If stuttering continues into adulthood, adults may end up avoiding jobs or personal commitments.
What Can Parents Do To Help?
It is important for adults to minimize reactions to disfluencies and demonstrate acceptance towards them. Point out strengths outside of speech and language rather than constantly focusing in on communication strengths. Avoid finishing the child’s thoughts when they stutter and listen attentively when they are speaking.
All in all, it is important to maintain openness and honesty when it comes to stuttering. If a child mentions their stutter, it is okay to acknowledge it rather than pretending it didn’t happen. Children can pick up on thoughts and emotions; if you display your worries about their stutter openly, they may stutter even more due to the increased pressure they feel.
SpeechEasy is a combination of proven technology and techniques which can be used to reduce stuttering. Worn in one ear and similar in appearance to a hearing aid, SpeechEasy has helped thousands increase their ability to communicate effectively and confidently. The program that comes with every SpeechEasy is supported by a team of fluency professionals who truly care about your success. Contact us today!