Speech and language development issues are quite common in kids these days. Though, most of the kids get well with time and therapies, if ignored, can continue into adulthood. One such concern is stuttering or stammering. It’s now also known as childhood-onset fluency disorder. If a child stutters it can adversely impact their self-esteem and may find it hard while interacting with others. But, need not worry as stuttering speech therapy if started in the initial stage turns into an effective treatment for this condition.
If your child stammers or prolongs a word while speaking, then they may be suffering from stuttering. So, start stuttering speech therapy as soon as possible to get maximum benefits before it gets difficult for your child to communicate with others.
In this article, you will learn everything about stuttering and how speech therapy can help.
What is Stuttering?
Stuttering is a speech-related disorder or can say a symptom of underlying language or an emotional issue such as stress and anxiety. But, it’s not a disease. It’s the disruption in the person’s verbal fluency characterized by silent, involuntary or audible, repetitions or prolongations of sounds. These repetitions or prolongations may be complemented with certain physical moments and emotions like stress, irritation, anxiety, fear, etc.
Stuttering doesn’t happen only in children but can affect the elderly too who may be suffering from other health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
Though, stuttering is mainly due to speech and language development issues in kids. But certain factors can make anyone stutter, as given below:
• Family history of stuttering
• Intellectual disabilities
• Abnormality in speech motor control
• Brain injury
• Serious medical conditions
• Mental or emotional issues
Also, it’s important to note that stuttering can get worse if the person suffering from this is under stress, tired, excited, or self-conscious.
• Repetition of words, sounds, or syllables
• Can’t communicate effectively
• Issues in initiating words, sentences, or phrases
• Gets anxious while talking
• Prolongation of words or sounds
• Pauses or gets silent while talking
• Adds unnecessary words while moving to the next word
• Excess physical movements, tension, or face tightness while speaking
Certain movements may be accompanied by stuttering like facial tics, clenching fists, rapid eye blinks, head jerks, tremors of the jaw or lips, etc.
Need of Speech Therapy for Stuttering
Though stuttering is common in kids between the ages of 2-5 years, but they mostly outgrow this with age. But, if it stays for prolonged periods, then you must see a doctor and a speech therapist to correct your child’s fluency. The conditions under which you must see a speech therapist are as follows:
• Stays for more than 6 months
• Is more frequent and stays even after the child grows
• Other speech or language issues are also there
• Have phobias or anxiety or emotional issues when told to speak
• Struggles while speaking
• Can’t communicate properly at school or work
• Starts in adulthood
Stuttering Speech Therapy
Stuttering can become a lifelong problem if early treatment is not done. Thus, the doctor suggests visiting a speech therapist as soon as possible. The treatment will depend upon the severity of stuttering and its frequency.
The speech therapy for stuttering will include regular therapy sittings with the speech therapist and they may also give you speech exercises to perform at home for better results. Thus, receiving stuttering speech therapy will help you regain speech. In addition, the therapist can also help in diagnosing the cause of stuttering.
The speech therapy sessions will be different for kids and adults. Even includes the session with the parents of the child so that they can support their kids and provide them with a relaxed environment at home.
Speech Therapy for Kids
There is no treatment plan that can cover all kids. Thus, the speech therapist provides customized speech therapy sessions to your child that are best suited for their needs. The exercises and activities will be based on your child’s age, needs, and severity of the disorder.
You need not worry about the speech therapy sessions as these involve general interaction with the child and simple exercises. The therapist will interact and communicate with the child in a playful manner using pictures, interesting books, and objects that help in promoting their language development. Uses various ways to correct your child’s words, syllables, etc., and encourages them to speak out. Also, the therapist will explain strategies and exercises to be done at home on a daily basis, which will help in your child’s speech fluency.
Speech Therapy for Adults
Stuttering in adults is mostly due to other health conditions, thus they require an experienced speech therapist. The therapist should be capable of assessing the condition properly so that an effective treatment plan can be designed as per their needs. Some exercises may help such adult patients. Breathing exercises, language and speech exercises, oral muscle strengthening exercises, and conversational tactics will help them in social communication. In addition, various activities are usually done that help improve their problem-solving, memory, and organization skills.
Therefore, if you feel your child or anyone at home is suffering from stuttering, then start their stuttering speech therapy sessions at the earliest to get remarkable improvement in their speech.