Childhood stuttering is a common condition affecting approximately five to ten percent of children at some point in their development.
While most grow out of their stutters prior to adulthood, some children require the help of a speech therapist to overcome their speaking difficulties.
When it comes to childhood stuttering, early intervention speech therapist treatment is key.
Early intervention can help correct your child’s speech to prevent emotional side effects, such as bullying and poor self esteem.
As well, early intervention treatment has shown to be a better approach to speech therapy for stuttering than the “wait and see” approach – we’ll take a look at why later in this article..
At Voz Speech Therapy, we offer a variety of Washington DC speech therapy services aimed at improving your child’s speech and language production.
Keep reading to learn more about stuttering in children and how speech therapy for kids can help.
What Is Stutter Disorder?
Stutter disorder is a type of speech disorder characterized by:
- Repeated words, sounds, or syllables
- Interrupted speech production
- Uneven rate of speech
Stutter disorder may also be referred to as stammering or diffluent speech.
While stuttering itself is very common amongst toddlers as they begin learning to use language, most stuttering resolves on its own as the child’s development progresses.
However, about one in four children who stutter will continue to stutter into adulthood.
Speech therapy can help manage your child’s stutter and prevent it from interfering with their adult lives.
Different Types Of Stuttering
Not every stutter is the same.
Stutter disorder can be further classified by one of multiple subtypes, including:
1. Neurogenic Stuttering
Neurogenic stuttering occurs due to atypical signaling between your brain, nerves, and muscles.
This type of stuttering is commonly caused by brain injuries, such as injury acquired from a stroke.
2. Psychogenic Stuttering
Psychogenic stuttering originates from the part of your brain that is responsible for thinking and reasoning.
This type of stuttering is common amongst children who’ve experienced severe emotional trauma.
3. Developmental Stuttering
Developmental stuttering is most common in children under the age of 5, especially in males.
This type of stuttering typically occurs as your child develops their speech and language abilities and resolves over time without the need for treatment.
4. Idiopathic Stuttering
Idiopathic stuttering is used to describe a sudden onset of stuttering with no clear reason.
A speech therapist can help determine whether there is an underlying cause of your child’s stuttering.
The most common symptom of stuttering is speech that is characterized by repeated words, sounds, or syllables and disruptions in speech rate.
Children who stutter may also struggle to pronounce certain words or starting sentences.
The stress associated with stuttering can also cause a variety of other symptoms, including:
- Physical changes such as facial tics, lip tremors and excessive eye blinking
- Frustration when attempting to communicate
- Hesitation or refusal to speak
- Adding extra sounds or words into sentences, such as “uh” or “um”
- Repetition of words or phrases
- Rearrangement of words in a sentence
- Making longer sounds in words than necessary
Stuttering may be worsened in social settings or high stress situations, such as public speaking.
Your child may or may not be aware of their stutter.
What Causes Stuttering
Multiple factors may contribute to your child developing a stutter, including:
- Family history of stuttering
- Family dynamics, such as divorce
- Neurophysiological defect
- Improper development during childhood
Genetics play an important role in stuttering.
It’s believed that stuttering can be caused by a genetic brain abnormality in the region responsible for language.
Stuttering also tends to be more common in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, so speech therapy for autism spectrum disorder can sometimes overlap with stuttering treatment.
How Can A Speech Therapist Help With Stuttering?
Speech therapists are experts in language production.
Your child’s speech therapist can help both diagnose and provide solutions for problematic stuttering.
Speech therapy can also help to reduce speech interruptions and improve your child’s self esteem.
Your child’s speech therapist will teach your child how to control their speech patterns by monitoring their rate of speech, breath support, and laryngeal tension.
A speech therapist can also provide parents with the skills and resources they need to practice therapeutics techniques at home.
These techniques can help your child feel less self conscious about their stutter.
Since stuttering often improves over time without the need for intervention, not every child who stutters will require speech therapy.
Your child might be a good candidate for speech therapy if they:
- Have stuttered for at least three to six months
- Have a noticeable stutter that significant interferes with their speech
- Experience emotional difficulties, such as bullying and low self esteem, due to their stuttering
- Have a family history of stuttering
As mentioned before, early intervention speech therapy is key when it comes to stuttering treatment.
Research has shown that the earlier children receive treatment for their stutter, the better their end results tend to be.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
At Voz Speech Therapy, we know how challenging stuttering can be for both you and your child.
We want to help.
Are you interested in finding out more about speech therapy for stuttering or our other services?
Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to get started.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.