Studies suggest that over seventy million people all over the world stutter, which makes it about one percent of the total population. Also, children between the ages of two and six are most likely to stutter. So, it goes without saying that stuttering is more common than what one might think. However, it is understandable that stuttering in children is a major concern for the parents. In fact, many times, parents of stutterers go as far as to blame themselves for the condition, even though it’s not something that happens due to any fault of their own.
So, here is a quick guide for the parents to help them get a better understanding of their children’s speech disorder.
The reasons why children stutter
Stammering or stuttering can be defined as the speech disorder whereby there is an interruption in the natural speech flow due to drawing out syllables or repetitive pauses. The exact reason behind stammering is yet to be known, though some probable causes have been outlined.
It can be an inherited condition in children in families where stuttering is common. Parents of stutterers also believe that stuttering comes from stress or emotional duress. But, emotional issues are generally not the cause, but the result, in this case. Many factors have been attributed to stuttering, so there’s no one defining reason behind it.
Tips to follow for Parents of Stutterers
There are several ways in which parents of stutterers can create a positive environment for the children. Here are a few tips to be followed to that end:
Reducing the pace of speaking: Parents should try speaking to the child in a relaxed manner, with frequent pauses. It helps to wait a couple of seconds before starting to speak after the child finishes. This is a more effective approach than telling children to slow down their speech.
Paying undivided attention: Parents of stutterers need to give more undivided attention to the children, and really listen when they are speaking. The children should feel that they have the focus of their parents when they have something to say.
Carefully asking questions: It is okay to ask questions to the child, but it’s not okay to release a barrage of questions at once. A better strategy is listening to what the child just said, commenting on it, and then waiting.
Not finishing his/her sentences: A common tendency for parents is to finish the sentences of a stuttering child. But, doing this will only make the child’s self-confidence take a hit.
It is common for children to have a speech fluency issue. However, it helps to seek professional assistance from a speech and language pathologist if there is a family history of stuttering, and the child has been stuttering for over six months.
Even if these conditions are met, there might not be a cause of concern. But, parents should still see a professional if they have concerns about their children’s speech. After all, early professional intervention is found to be highly useful for stutterers.