Fluency stuttering therapy may include full assessment, indirect and/or direct treatment (depending on the age of the child), and teaching of strategies for disfluent speech ranging from mild to profound. Parent education and training is a crucial part of fluency stuttering therapy. Likewise, the social-emotional impact of the condition is addressed with older children and adults who stutter.
For most adults and children who stutter, the problem goes beyond disfluencies and difficulties in verbal expression. Stuttering can take a toll on one’s confidence and self-esteem. In many cases, it can also lead to anxiety, fear of speaking, and embarrassment.
The exact causes of stuttering are unknown, but it is often triggered and aggravated by strong emotions and tense situations. That said, stuttering is primarily neurological and physiological in nature. Research suggests that in people who stutter, the differences in their brain activity interfere with speech production.
Experts have also pointed out that family history can be a factor as to why a person stutters. According to studies, the condition is often inherited, and many individuals who stutter will likely have a family member with the same problem.
For children aged two to six years, it is not uncommon to go through temporary periods of disfluency. But stuttering may continue for some children due to some risk factors involved. These risk factors are:
Signs and Symptoms of Stuttering
Intervention or stuttering treatment, which includes fluency shaping and stuttering modification, may be necessary when a child’s period of disfluency lasts for more than six months. Children who stutter will exhibit the following signs of disfluency:
Nodding, blinking, and avoiding or replacing certain words may also be exhibited by an individual as a way to stop or prevent stuttering. But these characteristics overlap with what’s called expressive oral language skills. A licensed speech-language pathologist can delineate if disfluencies are indeed stuttering or are part of oral expressive language.
Like all other speech, language, and communication disorders, early intervention is crucial in helping a child overcome and manage these difficulties. If you are concerned about your child’s disfluencies, seeking the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and considering stuttering therapy may be in order. This is particularly important if your child:
During your consultation with an SLP, your child will undergo observation and evaluation to decide if stuttering therapy is necessary. The SLP will conduct some testing and look at the following: