Warning Signs of Childhood Stuttering and Helpful Tips

Many children stutter between the age of 2 years and 5 years. It occurs when children suddenly learn many new words, grammar and sentences. For 75% of children, the stuttering will appear and then disappear. There is a small percentage whose stuttering never disappears. They continue to stutter into adulthood. Those who develop severe stuttering will have to learn Modification techniques in order to compensate for their Stuttering behaviour.

Signs that would indicate a need for a Speech and Language Assessment
1. A family member stutters. Children who have a family member that stutter are at a greater risk to stutter according to research. The cause of the stutter is not clear. 60% of children that have a severe stutter have been identified with a family member that stutters.
2. 3-4 times more boys are likely to stutter than girls
3. Your child stutters often. It is of concern if your child stutters more than 10% of the time. The stuttering behaviour consists of sound, syllable and word repetition, prolonging sounds and when it appears as if they are speaking but no sound is forthcoming.
4. There is visible tension in the head and neck. Occasionally you see the child struggling and having difficulty getting the words out. They may have eye blinking, nose flaring, head shaking, lips quivering and jaw clenching behaviour as they struggle to get words out.
5. The stutter may have difficulty controlling their breath. At times those that stutter appear as if they are “out of breathe,” when speaking. They may be trying to say everything in one breath or they are speaking with so much effort that they feel out of breath.
6. The stuttering behaviour is prevalent for more than 12 months. A stuttering phase usually last for approximately 6-12 months. A child is more likely to become a severe stutter if it last more than 12 months.
7. Your child is fearful and avoids speaking. A child may realize that is it difficult saying certain words and avoid speaking at all.
8. You child started to stutter after the age of 3½ years. Children who starts stuttering later are more likely to become sever stutterers.

Tips for Parents
• Create a relaxed environment. You want to prevent the child from feeling rushed and that he needs to speak quickly in order to be heard.
• As a parent you should speak slowly and calmly.
• Try not to interrupt your child while he is speaking and listen to what he is saying.
• Find time during the day for a one on one session with your child. Focus on what he is saying and not how he is saying it.
• Remain supportive and encouraging. Keep in mind that it is not easy to overcome stuttering. There is no quick fix.
• Keep in contact with the teacher and Speech therapist. Ask for homework, suggestions and strategies that you can apply at home.

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