Stuttering is a speech disorder, which causes an interruption of the normal flow of speech. It may take many different patterns such as trouble starting a word, phrase or sentence, hesitation before certain sounds have to be uttered, repeating a sound, word or syllable and/or prolonging parts of a word. Some physical symptoms associated with speech disruptions include struggling behaviours such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips.
Prognosis of stuttering
Stuttering is a common speech disorder in children aged between 2 – 5 years. About 5% of children aged 2 - 5 experience stuttering for a short period. The problem in most children lasts for a short period and improves in a few months. In less than 1% of children, the problem may persist and progress from simple repetition of consonants to repetition of words and phrases.
Prognosis for recovery is good in younger children (preschool children). Some researches have shown that about 65% of preschoolers, who stutter, improve without treatment in the first two years of stuttering and about 74% recover by their early teens. Prognosis is better for girls as compared with boys. Recovery without treatment occurs in only 18% of the children, who stutter after five years.
Currently, there is no cure for stuttering. Some medications have been tried for stuttering, but none of them have been found to be effective. Different treatment approaches for stuttering include controlled fluency (the person is taught to speak slowly and learn to notice when stuttering starts), certain electronic devices, cognitive behavioural therapy (you are taught to identify and change ways of thinking that might make stuttering worse) and intensive program. With timely and appropriate treatment, children can be taught to control their stuttering. Like any other disorder, response to treatment and prognosis for every child is different in stuttering. Some factors that affect the prognosis include severity of the disorder, cause of the disorder, age at intervention, response to treatment, overall health and external support system (parents, school, etc). According to experts, parental involvement and support is a major part in the treatment of any child with stuttering.
Prognosis is shown to improve with early intervention and it can help the child to achieve normal fluency. Young children with appropriate treatment may be left with little evidence of stuttering. If stuttering becomes established and the child has developed physical symptoms associated with speech disruptions such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips, the prognosis is more guarded.