Stuttering: Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment Options For Stuttering/Stammering In Kids

Stuttering can make your child challenging to communicate and can cause various health complications.

 Onlymyhealth Staff Writer
Children's HealthWritten by: Onlymyhealth Staff WriterPublished at: Feb 18, 2020Updated at: Feb 18, 2020
Stuttering: Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment Options For Stuttering/Stammering In Kids

Stuttering happens when the flow of speech is disrupted, and a child who stutters repeats the words, syllables or prolongs sounds. This is a bit different from repeating words when learning to speak. Stuttering occurs in children between 2 to 6 years old. Children may stutter during their speech, and thus the language abilities aren’t developed enough to keep up with what they want to say though most of them outgrow this developmental stuttering.

However, It is a chronic condition and can have a significant impact on self-esteem as well as other mental health issues.

Causes of stuttering

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Also Read: Understanding Toddlers Challenging Behaviour And Ways To Deal With It

There isn’t accurate proof of what causes stuttering, but these following factors may also cause stuttering:

Developmental stuttering

When children learn to speak, they stutter, especially when speech and language skills are not fully developed. This form of stuttering is usually temporary as it begins from the age of 18 months to 2 years.

Neurogenic stuttering

This happens when the signals between the brain, speech nerves and muscles are not working correctly. This usually affects children as there is a problem in the way language is transmitted through the brain.

Genetics

The child is more likely to stutter if there is a history in his family that someone had a stuttering problem, but this doesn’t mean that a child who has a family history will stutter.

Risk factors

A few of these factors may put your children at risk for stuttering. Knowing these will help you decide whether the person has to be concerned about the child.

Family history

Almost 60 per cent who stutter have a family member who stutters according to various research. The risk increases if the family member is still stuttering. The risk is less if the family member outgrows stuttering as a child.

Age

If stuttering in a child begins before age 3 ½, they are more likely to outgrow stuttering. If they start to stutter before age 3, there is a much better chance that the child will outgrow it within 6 months

Gender

Almost three to four boys continue to stutter for every girl who stutters. There are innate differences between boys and girls speech and language abilities during their early childhood. That is why boys stutter more than girls because of their differences in interactions with others.

Treatment

Not every child who stutters will require treatment because the developmental stuttering usually resolves with time.

Speech therapy

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This can reduce interruptions in speech and improves your child’s self-esteem. It focuses on encouraging the child to monitor their rate of speech, breath support, and laryngeal tension which is also controlling speech patterns. A child needs speech therapy if

  • They are stuttering for three to six months
  • Struggling with emotions because of stuttering
  • Having a family history

Other than this, the child can go for therapeutic techniques to help them feel less self-conscious about stuttering. Listen to your child patiently and set aside the time for talking

Also Read: Theatre for Cognitive Learning and Development in Children

Electronic devices

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There are several electronic devices available to enhance the fluency. The delayed auditory feedback is a device that requires you to slow your speech or the speech will sound distorted through the machine. Another one mimics the speech so that it seems as if you are talking with someone else together. Some devices can be worn, like hearing aids that create distracting background noise to reduce stuttering. Consult a speech-language pathologist for guidance on choosing a device.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

This can help the child to learn to identify and change their ways of thinking that can make their stammering as well as mental health better. It can help to resolve stress, anxiety caused by children.

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