Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetition of words or prolongation of sound.
Most stuttering starts when the children reach the age of 2 to 4. Around these ages, the children are eager to express themselves, but when they get nervous or there is emotional stress, they will then tend to repeat themselves. If this situation persists, it is then very likely that the children will develop stuttering. Lists below are the common reasons that induce stuttering in children.
1. When the children are forced to speak or their speeches are interrupted, it will make them stressed, this will cause the children to stutter easily.
2. Emotional stress caused by threatening or scolding will also induce stuttering in children.
3. When the children speak too fast, but their minds are unable to keep up. This situation will also cause the children to stutter.
4. Some children like to imitate people who stutter, if they do it frequently, they may also develop stuttering.
5. If a child has suffered from a disease that impacts his or her nervous system or respiratory system, he or she may also develop stuttering.
6. Due to genetics, a child may suffer from stuttering if there is a close family member who stutters.
7. When children have speech and language developmental delays, they are more likely to stutter.
8. There are differences in the child's brain processing of language. People who stutter process language in different areas of the brain. Also, there is a problem with the way the brain's messages are communicated to the muscles needed for speaking.
Prevention of stammering in children
Stuttering can be prevented if the parents take measures to prevent it:
1. When your child is unable to speak clearly, you should not jeer at him or make fun of the mistake. This is to prevent him from being emotionally stressed.
2. Encourage your child to think first before starting a conversation. This will help him or her to develop a habit of communicating calmly.
3. When you talk to your child, you should wait for a second before replying him or her. This will give him or her some time to calm down and think. This will be very effective in preventing stuttering in children.
4. Keep eye contact when you talk to your child.
5. Be a patient listener when your child talks to you. Do not interrupt your child's speech and do not force him to stop. Also, do not help him to finish the unsaid words.
6. Try to read along with your child and you may also consider reading stories to your child.
7. Be as patient as possible if your child has speech developmental delays. Do not be too anxious about his progress and give him stress to pronounce all the words you have prepared for him. If he feels stress, he might avoid the activity and dislike it. Instead, make the reading activity fun and positive for him.
8. Make talking fun and enjoyable for your child. Don't require your child to speak precisely at all times. Avoid corrections like "slow down" and "take your time", which will make your child feel more self-conscious.
9. Maintain natural eye contact with your child when he or she speaks. Do not look away or show signs of frustrations.
10. Speak slowly and clearly to your child and others in his or her presence.
When you should seek help
If your child is 5 years old and still stuttering, you should consult a speech-language therapist. You should seek help if you notice the following signs:
1. Repetitions of words, phrases and syllables become excessive and regular
2. Prolongations of words get more and more frequent
3. Speech is especially difficult and strained
4. There is vocal tension as your child speaks at higher pitches and loudly
5. Your child avoids situations that require talking
6. For fear of stuttering, your child changes a word he or she had initially wanted to say.
7. There are facial or body movements when he or she stutters and could not express himself or herself clearly.
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