Posted On : 17 Aug 2007 Total Views : 6353 Previous | Next

What is stuttering? Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.

Causes of stuttering: There are mainly four factors for development of stuttering.

  • Genetics(approximately 60% of those who stutter have a family member who does also)
  • Children with other speech and language problems or developmental delays are more likely to stutter.
  • People who stutter process speech and language in different areas of the brain than those who do not stutter.
  • High expectations and fast-paced lifestyles can contribute to stuttering

Stuttering may occur when a combination of factors comes together and may have different causes in different people. It is probable that what causes stuttering differs from what makes it continue or get worse.

Here are some examples:

One little boy began to stutter when a new baby sister was brought home from the hospital. He didn’t show his jealousy outwardly. He never tried to hit or punch her. He just became uneasy. A girl of 2 began to stutter after the departure of a fond relative who had been the family for a long time.In 2 weeks the stuttering stopped for the time being. When the family moved to a new house, she was quite homesick and stuttered again for a period. Parents report that their children’s stuttering is definitely worse when they themselves are tense.

  • Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently:Wait a few seconds after your child finishes speaking before you begin to speak. Your own slow, relaxed speech will be far more effective than any criticism or advice such as "slow down" or "try it again slowly."
  • Reduce the number of questions you ask your child:Children speak more freely if they are expressing their own ideas rather than answering an adult's questions. Instead of asking questions, simply comment on what your child has said, thereby letting him know you heard him.
  •  Use your facial expressions and other body language to convey to your child: That you are listening to the content of her message and not to how she's talking.
  • Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child: During this time, let the child choose what he would like to do. Let him direct you in activities and decide himself whether to talk or not. When you talk during this special time, use slow, calm, and relaxed speech, with plenty of pauses. This quiet, calm time can be a confidence-builder for younger children, letting them know that a parent enjoys their company. As the child gets older, it can be a time when the child feels comfortable talking about his feelings and experiences with a parent.
  • Help all members of the family learn to take turns talking and listening: Children, especially those who stutter, find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the listeners' attention.
  • Observe the way you interact with your child: Try to increase those times that give your child the message that you are listening to her and she has plenty of time to talk. Try to decrease criticisms, rapid speech patterns, interruptions, and questions.
  • Above all, convey that you accept your child as he is:  The most powerful force will be your support of him, whether he stutters or not.

Myth: People who stutter are not smart.

Reality: There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.

Myth: Nervousness causes stuttering.

Reality: Nervousness does not cause stuttering. Nor should we assume that people who stutter are prone to be nervous, fearful, anxious, or shy. They have the same full range of personality traits as those who do not stutter.

Myth: Stuttering can be “caught” through imitation or by hearing another person stutter.

Reality: You can’t “catch” stuttering. No one knows the exact causes of stuttering, but recent research indicates that family history (genetics), neuromuscular development, and the child’s environment, including family dynamics, all play a role in the onset of stuttering.

Myth: It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”

Reality: This advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making the stuttering worse. More helpful responses include listening patiently and modeling slow and clear speech yourself.

Myth: Stress causes stuttering.

Reality: As mentioned above, many complex factors are involved. Stress is not the cause, but it certainly can aggravate stuttering.

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