What is stuttering?
Stuttering is an interruption of the continuous flow of speech. It can be characterized as prolongations (sssssssssnake), repetitions of words (I I I want milk) or phrases (I want I want milk), frequent use of filler words (uh, um), blocking (silence and struggle before saying a word).
What causes it?
Although, the exact cause is not known, it should be recognized parents are not to blame their child’s stuttering. Ideally, the goal of working with young children who stutter is to eliminate stuttering while involving parents in the process.
Between the ages of 2 and 5, many children experience disfluencies in their speech. This is often considered a period of normal disfluencies. Why? One reason is that children are still coordinating their speech patterns and acquiring language during this stage. Will these children outgrow it? Some will but there is no way of knowing who will. It is essential to consult with a speech/language pathologist with expertise in treating children who stutter to discuss warning signs of beginning stuttering. The Lidcombe Program for Early Childhood Stuttering is an effective approach used to train parents in working with their child to eliminate stuttering. If you are concerned that your child is stuttering, consult a speech pathologist with expertise in stuttering.
School aged Children:
As the school year begins, many school aged children who stutter will be frustrated at not being able to communicate with their peers or teachers. Once children reach the age of 6, the occurrence of outgrowing stuttering is rare At this point, a more direct therapy approach needs to be applied to change stuttering and improve fluency. Many school aged children are discharged from speech therapy in school before they are able to effectively communicate and are still stuttering considerably. Children become very adept at hiding stuttering by avoiding feared words and not talking as much. This causes shame and embarrassment therefore often increasing stuttering. It is vital that speech therapy be sought out by a speech pathologist specializing in stuttering therapy. Remember, help is available for children and adults who stutter.
For more information, please contact Lori Melnitsky. Lori is a speech language pathologist (SLP) with expertise in stuttering. Overcoming a severe stuttering disorder has provided Lori with a unique insight into helping others overcome communication difficulties.. Lori is Lidcombe trained and a graduate of fluency shaping therapy programs for school aged children and adults. Lori can be contacted at 516-776-0184 or via e-mail: Lori@allislandspeech.com (www.allislandspeech.com). You can also read her blog at lmelnitsky.blogspot.com.