Stuttering, also known as childhood-onset fluency disorder, is a speech disorder that involves frequent and significant problems with normal fluency and flow of speech. People who stutter know what they want to say, but have difficulty saying it. This may cause this person to repeat a word or prolong a syllable or consonant/vowel sound.
It is common for children between the ages of 2 and 5 to go through periods when they may stutter. This may happen because there are two parts of the brain responsible for speech. The left inferior frontal gyrus which processes planning of speech, and the left motor cortex which controls the speech movements. If the IFG is more developed than the motor cortex, this will cause the child to stutter. Once the child is about 5 years of age, these brain centers should be working together and therefore the stuttering would diminish. If that is not the case, and there is an underlying reason the child is stuttering whereby the brain centers are not in sync, that will result in a fluency disorder.
If stuttering lasts more than six months in a child, becomes more frequent, or occurs with muscle tightening, or causes anxiety, it is recommended that parents contact a speech language pathologist for an assessment.
Two tips to try at home to reduce stuttering are:
1. Slow the rate of speech. Taking a few deep breaths and speaking slowly can help control the stutter.
2. Practice. Having children practice speech in a safe environment may help them feel more at ease with themselves and the way that their speech sounds.
A speech therapist can teach children to:
- slow down their rate of speech
- notice when they stutter
- work on a fluid speech pattern
Research suggests that speech therapy is the best treatment for both adults and children who stutter. If your child has a stutter, contact The Therapy Gym for a fluency assessment. Our highly skilled speech language pathologists can evaluate and treat your child and help your child achieve success.
The Therapy Gym, owned by Dr. Elisheva Fuchs, is the leading pediatric therapy center in Bergen County. The Therapy Gym provides physical, occupational, speech, behavioral and aquatic therapy as well as many classes for kids. Only the best, highly skilled and trained therapists work at the gym to help each child reach his or her potential. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, call The Therapy Gym at 201-357-0417 or email [email protected] You can also follow The Therapy Gym on Instagram and Facebook to learn more tips.