Stuttering is a disorder of communication when sounds or whole words are repeated while a person attempts to talk. The stuttering interupts the flow of communication. Other labels for stuttering is stammering or dysfluency. Stuttering first appears between the ages of 18 months and 4 years. In fact, 90% of children during this age range exhibit some form of “normal dysfluency.” One common explanation is that a child’s thoughts are processing more quickly than he or she is able to express them into words. Most often, without parental attention, stuttering disappears within a couple months.
True stuttering occurs in approximately 1% of children between the ages 4 and 12 years. It is believed that stuttering tends to be genetic and not environmentally induced. When stuttering arises due to social factors, reducing the stressors allows the stuttering to subside.
If your child is a stutterer, parents can approach the condition by following 10 simple rules:
1. Listen and offer encouragement. Be aware of your own nonverbal communication style.
2. Devise a system between parent and child that allows a nonthreatening way to communicate issues surrounding the stuttering.
3. Teach helpful breathing techniques.
4. Do not correct.
5. Do not interrupt.
6. Do not say the sound or word that is being stuttered.
7. Do not complete sentences.
8. Do not advise slowing down while the problem occurs.
9. Do not request repeating the phrase or sentence.
10. Provide unconditional support.