This can be a very debilitating condition that can have devastating effects upon learning, self-confidence, social interactions and can limit job opportunities. Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Between 50-60% of those will recover spontaneously, leaving about 2-3% of the population with a long-term problem. Speech pathologists use a reliable method of treatment that has virtually a 100% success rate for children under the age of 12. Early intervention is the secret to success. Stuttering (or stammering as it is sometimes referred to) is a condition that we believe is genetically linked with about four times as many boys suffering from the condition as girls. Stuttering usually develops between 2 and 4 years of age, usually when there is a burst in the child’s language usage. Of all the children who start stuttering, approximately 50% will stop within the first 6 months, but for those who don’t, the vast majority will carry the stutter into adulthood unless treatment is undertaken. If the child has been stuttering for two or three months and it is only getting worse, or it is clearly becoming distressing for the child (and/or parents) then therapy before the 6 months period is recommended.
It is believed to start out as an immature speech-motor system which doesn’t allow the mouth to keep up with the brain. This leads to repetitions which become habit, and while the speech-motor system may mature, the habit created may stay with the child into adulthood unless the child (and parents) undertake Stuttering Therapy with a qualified Speech Pathologist.
There are basically two types of stutters:
Children (up to the age of about 11 or 12) where there is a very effective program that basically eliminates the stutter in nearly all cases so that it should not return again.
Adolescent to adult stutters who can learn to control the stutter so that they don’t stutter, but it will always be there hovering in the background.
Therefore it is vitally important to treat a stutter early in the child’s life for maximum benefit.
What does a stutter sound like?
Stuttering most commonly commences with either part word or whole word repetitions. Part word repetitions would sound like “….. bu-bu-bu but I didn’t do it” or “…. ca-ca-ca can I have a drink please?”
Whole word repetitions would sound something like, “…… what what what what are we having for dinner?”
Prolongations are also stutters where the child might say, “….. whaaaaaaat are we having for dinner?”
Another form of stuttering is ‘Blocking’ where the child my be attempting to say something but nothing comes out. Sometimes accompanying this there might be some contorted facial features, rolling of the eyes or even strange movements of the face or body. This ‘blocking’ and associated features is usually a later developing type of stutter.