Stammering occurs when our speech fluency is disrupted by pauses, blocks, and repetitions of speech sounds/ words. We all have stammered sometimes, right? Some of the common instances include,
Our first group meet
Our first presentation
Our first interview
Our first interaction with our superiors
These episodes of occurrences are common and they primarily happen due to our fear, tension, and anxiety.
Disfluencies such as pauses, speech sound/ word repetitions are part of the normal speech and language development in childhood. These tend to reduce once a child masters his course of development in terms of speech, language, cognitive, and motor skills. As parents, the best thing you can do to your kid is "Don't make them too much aware of such disfluencies and never pressurize them to talk fluently !".
If you encounter a disfluency, let them know in a natural way such as "Oops! that was a little bumpy, wasn't it? Shall we reduce the bump?", "Can you be smooth on it?", etc. Don't use sentences such as "Eww! Stop stammering", "Do not stammer. Speak properly", etc. Use more positive indications so that they do not develop anxiety and fear. Sometimes, doing nothing or not reacting to their very few and occasional disfluencies is the best thing you can do!
When the episodes of stammering are recurrent and affect an individual's speech and the overall quality of life, it is technically called as "stuttering". A speech-language pathologist/ speech therapist is the professional who identifies the presence, nature, and severity of stuttering.
When to consult a speech therapist?
1. When these disfluencies tend to persist beyond 4-5 years of age, you need to be cautious as a parent. Get a professional opinion from a certified speech-language pathologist/ speech therapist. This would help you to know about the nature and severity of the issue.
2. When there are a significant amount of disfluencies in your child's speech even during the initial 4 years of age. Get professional help from the SLP. They will be able to give you some guidelines on whether to go for therapy or a customized home program.
Always remember "Prevention is better than cure and the earlier, the better". It is good to have a brief consultation to avoid much worry.
Who can have stuttering?
People of all ages can have stuttering right from children to elders.
Types of stuttering
(Treatment guidelines vary for each type of stuttering)
Is stuttering 100% curable?
The progress of the individual is largely determined by the nature and severity of stuttering, extend of generalization ( based on the techniques taught), and maintenance routines. The individual should follow the professional guidelines, practice, and generalize all the techniques.
Remember that stammering/ stuttering increases with anxiety and tension. Keep yourself calm and relaxed!
Stop anticipating your stuttering/ stammering.
Do not avoid speaking to others because you have stuttering.
Do not be depressed. We are here to help you out!