Child Health
Stuttering

​Introduction:

  • Stuttering is a speech disorder that involves frequent and significant problems with normal fluency and flow of speech.
  • Stuttering may be worse when the person is excited, tired or under stress.
  • Starts between the ages of 2 and 5 years, however, stuttering that persists may require intervention. 
  • The exact causes of stuttering are still unknown, they may be attributed to several factors.
  • There are effective treatments to help improve speech fluency. 
Other Names:
Stammering.

Types and Causes of Stuttering:
Developmental Stuttering: It is the most common type of stuttering, which occurs while the child is still learning speech and language skills. The exact cause of its occurrence is not clear, although it is believed to be caused by a difference in conduction through the parts of the brain responsible for speech. The brain connectors in children are still developing, which is the reason that most children can eventually overcome stuttering. It is believed that genes play an important role in the occurrence of most cases because approximately 66% of those who stutter have a family history of stuttering. 
Acquired Stuttering: It is caused by a stroke or head trauma or any other type of brain injury. In this case the brain finds it difficult to coordinate between different regions of the brain, making it difficult to speak clearly and fluently. Other causes include medications, psychological and emotional trauma. 
Symptoms:
  • Difficulty starting a word, phrase or sentence.
  • Repetition of words and phrases excessively. 
  • Prolonging a word or sounds within a word. 
  • Rapid eye blinks, or tremors of the lips or jaw.
  • Anxiety about talking and difficulty talking.
  • Changes in facial expressions or bodily movements with stuttering.
  • Child avoids situations that require talking.  
Stuttering may be worse when a person is enthusiastic, tired or under pressure such as: speaking in front of a group, or talking on the phone.

Risk Factors:
  • Family history of stuttering.
  • Gender, males are more likely to stutter than females.
  • Other speech and language problems or delayed growth.
  • Stress.
    ​When to see a doctor?
  • When you notice symptoms and signs.
  • When the child is 5 years old and still stuttering.
  • Stuttering lasts more than six months.
  • Avoiding contact with others and anxiety and academic delay.

Diagnosis:
Usually, diagnosis is made by a speech-language pathologist who will take into account a variety of factors, including: 
  • Medical history.
  • Family history.
  • Behavior analysis.
  • Evaluation of language abilities. 

Complications:
Psychological complications may increase severity of the disease, when patient suffers from:
  • Loss of self-confidence.
  • Problems communicating with others.
  • Not speaking or avoiding situations that require speaking.
  • Loss of social, school, or work participation.  
Treatment:
Although no drugs have been proved yet to help the problem, there are a variety of treatments and skills to help patients, depending on the patient's age, communication goals and other factors, which aim to improve speech fluency and communicate successfully, including:
  • Speech therapy, using certain exercises to speak slowly, correct pronunciation, control breathing, and others.
  • Using certain electronic devices to help with fluent speech
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. 
Prevention:
There is no way to prevent stuttering, but being aware of natural changes and abnormal signs is the most important element to address the problem in its early stages.

Tips for Parents:
Parents are advised to follow these steps to help their child:
  • Be as patient with your child as possible, and provide a calm atmosphere at home.
  • Don't require your child to speak precisely or correctly at all times. 
  • Avoid corrections, criticisms and comments such as "slow down," "take your time," or "take a deep breath.
  • Avoid having your child speak or read aloud when uncomfortable or when the stuttering increases. 
  • Don't interrupt your child or tell him to start over or think before speaking.
  • Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child or others in his presence.
  • Maintain eye contact when talking to him. 
  • Distract his attention when he is crying and don't let him speak.
  • Avoid comparing with others, especially when asked to do certain jobs.
  • Cooperate with the therapist, and have your child do home exercise regularly. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
​Is hypnosis an effective cure for stuttering?
    • It has not been scientifically proven.
Misconceptions:
  • Tonsillectomy treats stuttering?
    • Fact: There is no evidence for this, it is advised to consult ENT specialist is such cases.  








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Last Update 03 February 2019 02:27 PM
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