Does Your Child Stutter? How Speech Therapy Can Help

Stuttering is a common speech problem in children. A child who stutters may repeat certain words, phrases or sounds, or even prolong the pronunciation of a single word when trying to speak.

Stuttering can be frustrating for both children and parents. Stuttering can affect your child’s ability to freely express themselves and can even be embarrassing as they attend school and interact with teachers and peers. Noticing stuttering in your child can be both frustrating and confusing, and may leave you feeling unsure on how to help.

If you’ve noticed your child stuttering, understanding what stuttering is, symptoms of stuttering, and how to treat stuttering with speech therapy can provide you with the necessary information and tools to help your child improve their quality of life, develop natural speech patterns, and build confidence when speaking.

 

Causes of Stuttering

Researchers have identified that stuttering can occur during the natural process of organizing thoughts and words into sentences. Although the true cause of stuttering is not yet known, a combination of factors can affect normal speech patterns, including

 
  • Family history of stuttering;
  • Developmental disabilities;
  • Problems with speech motor control;
  • Severe medical conditions, including head or brain injury;
  • Emotional and/or mental health problems.
 

Symptoms of Stuttering in Children

 

The symptoms of stuttering in children are generally obvious to parents, as their child learns to speak and begins to build their vocabulary, usually between the ages of 2 and 5.

Parents may notice their child struggles to speak or stammers.  There may also be an obvious stutter that affects their speech flow, as your child may repeat the first letter of a “w-w-w-word” in a sentence, for example.

 

Your child may also prolong the pronunciation of a word, such as “caaaaan I have more?”  They may also repeat entire phrases or sentences, which are also signs of stuttering. Your child may also display one or more physical signs of stuttering, including rolling their head and eyes backward when struggling to speak.  They may also tighten the muscles around their mouth if struggling with motor control.

Stuttering may also increase during certain social interactions, due to nervousness. Your child may even avoid talking in these situations because they fear being teased, or don’t want to draw attention to their speech problems.

 

Diagnosing Stuttering

 

You may have already noticed that your child displays some symptoms of stuttering, but a thorough examination and diagnosis with a Speech-Language Pathologist is often the best way learn more about your child’s speech patterns and how to help them improve.

 

Speech Therapy for Stuttering

 

Private speech therapy is often the best treatment for children who stutter. Speech therapy offers both children and parents individualized treatment plans and custom speech-development exercises that will help your child communicate  freely and effectively. Speech therapists work one-on-one with your child to teach them strategies during the onset of a stutter.

Additionally, because each child who stutters is different, speech therapy is often the best way to to help improve your child’s speech patterns, as they can identify which techniques will be most effective for them. Speech therapists may also recommend strategies you can do at home with your child to reinforce the techniques learned in the therapist’s office.

 

Helping Your Child

 

As your child improves their speech, it is important to be patient and avoid disciplining them for stuttering. Try to avoid putting your child in stressful situations that make their stuttering worse, while they  are being treated.

Be sure to make eye contact with your child when they are speaking to help them feel comfortable and relaxed. When spending time with them, allow them to express themselves freely, and avoid making them feel ashamed or embarrassed about their stuttering.

Lastly, explore speech therapy, give your child the opportunity to practice the strategies learned in therapy to reduce their stuttering, and help them build confidence that will last for years to come.

If your child shows signs and symptoms of stuttering, we can help!  Contact Tulips Speech Therapy to learn how our team of expert speech-development therapists can help your child reduce stuttering and build fluid, confident speech. Learn more about our team here.

You may also contact us at hello@tulipstherapy.com to schedule a consultation.

Tulips Speech Therapy provides provides custom, private speech therapy treatments for children and adults in the San Francisco Bay area.