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Many children stutter - it occurs when a child cannot articulate a word without repeating it over and over, or indeed repeating the first letter over and over before getting through the whole word. It is something they cannot appear to control or seem to overcome and is a common issue. Stutters may start young or seem to develop over time.
One form of stutter is known as Normal Disluency. This occurs around 2-6 years old. Most cases actually disappear by teenage years without any intervention at all. Sometimes it is just a stage or a trick the child is trying out to see what response they get. It is common and quite normal.
Why Does It Happen?
- The brain is unable to transmit the messages correctly.
- Genetics may play a role.
- Head injury or trauma in the early years.
- Environmental factors.
You may find that is stressful situations the stuttering gets worse, it be be worse after a big event such as the birth of a new sibling, moving house or school and is generally worse in boys. Children may have restricted vocabulary because they are nervous about trying new words so will keep to what they know.
If the stuttering last more than a 6 months or so, go to the doctor or health visitor for some advice. They may suggest a hearing and speech test. You may also be recommended to try speech therapy. This will help teach the child different ways to articulate and techniques to overcome any problems with word formation. Or counseling may be advised to help the child with any anxiety they may have or fears.
Help you can offer yourself:
- Try not to correct or interrupt your child when they talk. Ask family members not to correct or intervene either.
- Try not ask them to say it again "properly" or tell them to hurry up.
- Don't ask them to practice or draw attention to the issue.
- Make sure you speak slowly and carefully yourself.
- Talk a lot together and read lots of fun books.
- Try to reduce any stress or keep the child shielded from any problems there might be.