Stuttering? Don't panic.
I get so many parents reaching out to me about their child suddenly becoming dysfluent/ stuttering - it can come as quite a shock and no parent likes to see their child struggling with something they previously found easy.
But what they're seeing isn't uncommon.
Many many children (more often boys) experience stuttering or dysfluency as their language grows (around age 2-5). Sometimes this is called developmental stuttering. For most children, these dysfluencies go away on their own without any intervention. Sometimes this can be caused by a difficulty in PROCESSING all of the new language they're learning.
If you think of their language bank like a filing cabinet and new words are shoved in messily with no organisation or sorting, thus they find it difficult to get to those words when they need them.
Stuttering can include:
👂Repeating the starts of words
👂Repeating sounds in words
👂Holding on to or prolonging sounds
👂Hesitating between words
👂Using fillers like 'umm', 'and' or 'errr'
👂Getting frustrated and giving up or rephrasing
Some stuttering behaviours or moments do not fall into the 'developmental stuttering' category. In these cases, assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist is recommended for a closer look at what might be happening. There are lots of ways that therapists can support children who stutter.
A general rule of thumb is that if your child has started stuttering and it hasn't subsided/has become more significant after 3-4 months - reach out for more support.
🌟HOW YOU CAN HELP🌟
- DON'T ask your child to slow down
- DON'T ask your child to think about what they're saying
- DON'T ask your child to pause or breathe
- DO wait patiently for your child to share their message and show with your face that you're interested.
- DO try to be eye level and face to face as much as possible so they don't feel they have to rush to keep your attention
- DO model a relaxed rate of speech yourself and reduce rushing/business in routines
- DO gently acknowledge that talking can be tricky but you're listening and here to help
Questions? Ask me in the comments.
You've got this.