Children develop at different paces and can face an array of unique developmental obstacles during the process. When it comes to communication, one common impediment is stuttering. It is a condition that affects roughly 70 million people worldwide, and approximately 5 percent of children go through a period of stuttering.
Because stuttering is so common and a condition that many children outgrow, it can be difficult to determine the appropriate approach. Do you “wait and see” or seek out speech-language therapy? While this is a decision that should be given significant consideration, it is helpful to know that there are very few—if any—adverse side effects to therapy, and virtually all children who receive speech therapy become more confident in their speaking abilities.
What Is Stuttering?
Stuttering is a communication disorder wherein the flow of speech is disrupted by repetitions, prolongations, and abnormal stoppages. It is often accompanied by unusual facial and body movements.
What Causes Stuttering?
Research suggests there are four main factors that contribute to the development of stuttering: genetics, child development, neurophysiology, and family dynamics. It is a condition that affects males far more than females—males are four times as likely to develop a stuttering condition.
Can Stuttering Be Treated?
Yes, there are a variety of approaches to treating stuttering—the most popular of which is speech-language therapy. Although there is no instant, miracle cure for stuttering, early intervention guided by a trained speech-language pathologist can help to enhance articulation, fluency, voice, and more.
When To Get Help for Stuttering
Many children experience periods of stuttering. Determining whether or not your child’s stuttering requires intervention can be difficult. According to The Stuttering Foundation, research indicates that roughly 70 percent of children who begin stuttering will outgrow it on their own without speech therapy. This can make many parents hesitant to seek help. However, it is important to remember that early intervention can help your child overcome stuttering much quicker than without intervention.
Generally speaking, if your child is five years old and still stuttering, you may want to seek help. Also, below are some signs that you may want to schedule a consultation with a pediatric speech pathologist:
- Repetition of words and phrases become excessive and consistent
- The prolongations of words intensify
- Speech and facial muscles become tense and tight
- Your child tries to avoid talking
- Your child changes his or her speech because of a fear of stuttering
At FUNctionabilities, we have trained speech-language pathologists on staff who have experience crafting interventions that target the core of the problem. We leverage our expertise and experience to learn your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and promote communication skills, social skills, and speech-related cognitive skills. Learn more about our speech therapy, and contact us today to schedule an evaluation!