Many times we come across preschoolers either repeating a syllable or prolonging a word or a phrase for too long. This is not uncommon in children between the ages of 2-5 years. This is a very normal aspect of language learning and development. Stuttering is simply an interruption in the flow of speech in a young preschooler who is otherwise growing and developing normally. This does not persist till adulthood and children outgrow this habit. Hence, this is also known as ‘pseudostuttering'.
Parents panic and rush to doctors and speech therapists, however, usually this condition goes by 5 years and very rarely persists beyond that. It happens by the age of 2 when there is a burst of new words and phrases which our child is exposed to, and they are rapidly learning new words. They are learning to put phrases and words together to make sentences. This is the first time they are trying to communicate like adults, so parents should be patient and understanding.
REASONS FOR STUTTERING
Usually, it runs in the family and some family member would also have the same problem.
The rapid rate of speech or learning too many words and sentences can be few of the reasons. Occasionally when many languages are spoken in the family it can happen as well. Other reasons include:-
- Increased levels of activity.
- Developmental delays.
A child usually stutters before the age of 5 and it normally happens for few weeks or can also be sporadic in occurrence. As a parent, you will observe that your child is prolonging the word mummy such as 'mmmmmmummy'. Or they may persistently say syllables like mummy as ‘mu-mu-mu-mummy'. Occasionally words may not come out or get stuck.
Stuttering is most when the child is over excited, stressed or exhausted. Parents may notice that certain changes in the daily routine of a child such as the shift to daycare or birth of a new sibling can trigger stuttering. It tends to commonly occur more in boys.
AS PARENTS HOW TO DEAL WITH STUTTERING IN KIDS
- Never interrupt when your child is speaking by correcting them. Ask other members of the family too to follow the same.
- Don't ask them to repeat themselves.
- Let your child complete the entire conversation and hear them out fully.
- Read books to your child.
- Talk to your child regularly. Talk to them what you did the whole day. Let them tell you what they did the whole day.
- Avoid any stressful situations for the child as much as
The best intervention would be to ignore this phase as it would pass away on its own. Be supportive and understanding towards your child as this will resolve on its own and does not persist for more than five to six months.
However, true stuttering or stammering lasts longer and is more obvious with the reputation of words. This usually persists when the child reaches school and maybe an embarrassing situation for the child. Consultation with a speech therapist would be recommended for stuttering which remains longer than 6 to 7 months or is present beyond five years. There is no real treatment for stuttering other than speech therapy and counseling. This can be frustrating for parents but rest assured, being patient can help you sail smoothly through this phase.
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