What is stuttering?
Stuttering is a speech disorder. It involves interruptions in the flow of speech. They may include
- Repeating sounds, syllables, or words
- Stretching out a sound
- Suddenly stopping in the middle of a syllable or word
The stuttering may be worse when you are stressed, excited, or tired. It can be frustrating because you know exactly what you want to say, but you have trouble saying it. You may find it difficult to communicate with people. It can cause problems with school, work, and relationships.
How bad is my stuttering?
Normal dysfluency: It occurs between 18 months and three years of age. It is characterized by repetitions in sounds, syllables, as well as words that usually appear at the beginning of a sentence. Children with normal dysfluency have little or no awareness of their stuttering.
Moderate: It usually occurs between three and five years of age. Children with moderate stuttering often present with similar repetitions in speech as those with normal dysfluency.
Severe: It usually occurs between one and seven years of age. In severe cases, stuttering occurs with almost every phrase or sentence. It is accompanied by secondary characteristics (eye blinks, looking away from the listener, moving ones hands) and avoidance behaviors (behavior people use to escape or distract themselves from difficult thoughts, feelings, and situations).
How to manage normal dysfluency and mild stuttering?
- Provide a relaxed home environment that allows the child to speak. Set aside time to talk, especially when the child is excited and has a lot to say.
- Listen attentively when the child speaks and focus on the content of the message, rather than interrupting the child.
- Speak slowly in relaxed manner.
- Listen attentively when the child speaks and wait for him or her to say the intended word. Also, help the child learn that a person can communicate successfully even when stuttering occurs.
- Talk openly and honestly to the child about stuttering if he or she brings up the subject. Let the child know that it is okay for some disruptions to occur.
- Breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, learning to speak more slowly, and addressing anxiety issues are among the techniques an SLP can use with both children and adults.
- Medications: There are no FDA-approved medications yet, but some medications used for other conditions have been used for stuttering. Speak with your doctor or SLP for guidance, especially about any side effects.
- Medical devices: Researchers are looking into medical devices that could aid in speaking fluently, such as those that could fit into the ear, or using brain stimulation to help communication. More research is needed in this area.
How to manage severe stuttering?
If it persists for an abnormally prolonged period, you need to see a speech-language therapist to improve speech fluency.
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child:
- Has stuttering that lasts for more than 6 months
- Has a fear of talking
- Is not talking at all
- Develops problems in school
What causes stuttering?
It occurs due to underdeveloped speech and language abilities.
However, certain factors or a combination of them can make an individual stutter, no matter whether he is a kid, adult, or aged person.
There are multiple possible causes of stuttering. Some include:
- Family history
- Family dynamics
- Impaired development during childhood
- Brain injury
- Emotional trauma
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