Stuttering is common amongst young children who haven’t yet fully developed their speech and language skills. But if your child’s stuttering isn’t improving with age, it might be time to seek professional help. Prolonged stuttering into adulthood may lead to poor communication skills, difficulties with intrapersonal relationships, and an overall lower quality of life. At Voz Speech Therapy, we provide a wide range of services aimed at improving your child’s speech and increasing their self-confidence. This article will talk all about stuttering, its known causes, and how speech therapy for stuttering can help. If your child seems to have difficulty with stuttering, pediatric speech therapy can make a big difference. It’s best to bring them in sooner than later, since early intervention speech therapy for kids has been shown to have much better results than the “wait and see” approach. However, if you’re an adult with a stutter, adult speech therapy can still help. Let’s take a closer look at stuttering. What Is Stuttering? Stuttering, also called stammering or dysfluent speech, is a speech disorder affecting approximately 5 to 10% percent of American children. In fact, it’s one of the most common speech disorders. Stuttering is characterized by: \tRepeated words, sounds, or syllables \tInterrupted speech production \tUneven rate of speech Stuttering is typical in children between the ages of 2 to 6 and generally resolves during development without the need for intervention. However, up to 25% of children whose stuttering doesn’t improve with age will continue to stutter into adulthood. This is why we recommend early intervention. Research shows that children’s brains are most receptive to speech therapy before their third birthday. This is because their minds tend to be more malleable at this age, and they haven’t had as much time to cement their bad habits in their brain. Types Of Stuttering Not every stutter is the same. Researchers have identified three types of stuttering: 1. Neurogenic Stuttering Neurogenic stuttering is caused by abnormalities with the signals that move between your brain, nerves, or muscles. This type of stuttering often occurs after some sort of brain injury or disease, such as: \tStrokes, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological disorders \tTumors and cysts \tDegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis \tOther diseases, such as AIDS or meningitis Perhaps unsurprisingly, this type of stutter is almost exclusive to adults, though in rare cases it can affect children as well. 2. Developmental Stuttering Developmental stuttering is the most common type of stuttering seen in children younger than 5 years of age. This type of stuttering occurs due to underdeveloped speech and language abilities and generally resolves as these skills are learned. Boys are more likely than girls to present with developmental stuttering. 3. Psychogenic Stuttering Psychogenic stuttering is caused by abnormalities in the parts of your brain that governs thinking and reasoning. This type of stuttering sometimes occurs after some type of emotional trauma. Psychogenic stuttering may also present as a symptom for some emotional disorders, such as social anxiety. Stuttering Causes As we discussed in the previous section, the cause of your stuttering will depend on the type. For instance, some people develop neurogenic stuttering after suffering from a brain injury. On the other hand, a child who is being abused might develop psychogenic stuttering. Stuttering may also be more likely to present in children who: \tHave a family history of stuttering \tHave atypical neurophysiology, such as a dysfunction in the basal ganglia \tExperience developmental delays or difficulties \tAre autistic - autism spectrum disorder and stuttering are common co-occurrences Stuttering Symptoms The most common stuttering symptom is repeated words, sounds, or syllables and disruptions in your rate of speech. Some people who stutter may struggle with specific sounds, such as “T” or “G”. Others struggle to begin speaking and starting sentences. In addition, the stress associated with stuttering may lead to a variety of physical symptoms, such as: \tPhysical changes, such as facial tics, lip tremors, excessive eye blinking, and tension in the face and upper body \tFrustration when attempting to communicate \tHesitation or refusal to speak \tAdding extra sounds into words or sentences, such as “uh” or “um” \tRepetition of words or phrases \tTension in the voice \tRearrangement of words in sentences \tMaking long sounds with words, such as “Today, I went to the paaaaark” These symptoms may get worse in social settings and high stress environments, such as public speaking. How Can A Speech Therapist For Stuttering Help? A speech therapist can help to diagnose and provide solutions for your child’s stuttering. Diagnosing a stutter doesn’t require any invasive testing. Your child’s speech therapist will ask them to describe their own symptoms while they evaluate the degree of your child’s stutter. After a stutter has been diagnosed, a speech therapist will work with your child to reduce interruptions in their rate of speech. One of the ways this is accomplished is through teaching your child to control their speech patterns by monitoring their rate of speech, breath support, and laryngeal tensions. Not every child who stutters will require speech therapy. Many stutters improve as your child ages and their speech and language development advances. In fact, stuttering between ages two and six when your child is first learning to speak is quite normal. So normal, in fact, that its name is normal developmental disfluency. However, the best candidates for speech therapy to help stuttering are children who: \tHave stuttered for at least 3 to 6 months \tHave pronounced stuttering \tStruggle with stuttering or experience emotional difficulties due to stuttering \tHave a family history of stuttering Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today At Voz Speech therapy, we want to help your child overcome their stutter and improve their quality of life. If your child stutters, we can help. Book an appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to get started.