“Avoidance increases fear and therefore stuttering, and it must be reduced” – Dr. Charles Van Riper
When speech is interrupted by frequent repetition like le- le- let me talk, prolongation like llllllet me talk, excessive fillings, stoppages like umm ah or sometimes no sound but a visible struggle to talk, it is called Stuttering or Stammering.
Stuttering prevents you from speaking freely and this disturbance while talking may be accompanied by rapid eye blinking, avoidance of eye contact, shivering of lips, jerks in the jaws or other such bodily or facial struggles. Certain situations such as speaking to a stranger, group of people, talking on the phone tend to make stuttering more severe.
The exact and precise mechanism that causes stuttering is not well understood. Stuttering tends to run in families. Children with other speech and language problems or developmental delays are more likely to stutter. Studies have shown that people who stutter process speech and language slightly differently than those who do not stutter. Sometimes even high expectations, stressful lifestyles can also contribute to stuttering.
Stuttering affects males four times more than females across all ages but occurs most frequently in children between 2 to 7 years of age whose speech and language are developing. According to the Stuttering Foundation, approximately 5 percent of all children go through a phase of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Most of them will recover by late childhood, leaving about 1% with a long-term problem.
If you think your child is stuttering and if the stuttering persists for three to six months or more, it’s advisable to seek help from a speech and language therapist who specializes in treating stuttering.
Currently, the available cure for stuttering is through speech therapy approach. There are varieties of successful approaches to treating children and adults with stuttering. The earlier the treatment, the better the outcome. Speech therapy will help prevent childhood stuttering from becoming a lifelong problem.