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Stuttering in children and its management. Reasons of stammering.BY: Deena David | Category: Family | Post Date: 2009-07-25
Stuttering is a defect in the speech. It is usually seen as a hesitation or stumbling and spasmodic repetition of some words with pause in between the words. Stuttering is commonly called as stammering in older children and adults. Sometimes in children, there is difficulty in pronouncing the initial consonants and it is caused by the paralysis of the palatal muscles.
Many children show repetition and hesitation in speech as they learn to talk. Individual variations can be expected to an extent. When a child has severe difficulty, then medical attention becomes necessary. Some children may be able to speak fluently, while others may have difficulty. Stuttering usually begins between the ages of two and five years.
Reasons for stuttering / stammering:
1. Anxiety: Some children are very anxious from an early age. This is a behavioural problem. This can cause speech disturbances that are seen as stammering and stuttering.
2. Emotional stress: Once a child has been identified to stammer and stutter, the parents may constantly remind the child of this and advice the child to talk normally. This causes an additional stress on the child and the stammering worsens.
3. Ridicule: Friends may ridicule the child, leading to further worsening of the speech. The child may also lose self confidence and go into a ‘shell'.
4. The stress caused by the conflict between the parental expectations and the achievement of the child may cause stuttering in some children.
5. There is also a little evidence that children who were left handed, when forced to use their right hands start to stutter.
Management of stutter
1. Reassurance: Parents of very small child with stutter should be reassured that things might become well once the child grows. This especially will pass off as the child gets older up to five years.
2. Pressure: Parents should not show undue concern and should not pressurize the child as this can lead to further stutter and stammering. This will also make the child conscious of his or her stuttering.
3. These children can often recite poems or sing. This gives more confidence that the defect is reversible and may pass off.
4. Support: Older children with secondary stuttering should be given emotional support and also referred to a speech therapist.
It should be remembered that the stuttering child is not mentally retarded. The intelligence quotient of these children may be higher than the average for their age in most instances.
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