Stuttering, also referred to as stammering, is a speech disorder that involves frequent and notable problems with the normal flow of speech and fluency. In some cases, stuttering completely blocks an individual from producing a sound.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), stuttering affects approximately 5% of children ages 2 to 5.
Also, an estimated 5 to 10% of all children will stutter for some period in their life, lasting from several weeks to a few years. It is also estimated that stuttering is 5 times more common in boys than girls.
But, typically, stuttering drops to very low levels when the children enter elementary school and start sharpening their communication skills.
In the US, over 3 million Americans have the condition and more than 70 million people worldwide. About 1% or less of adults stutter.
Common signs and symptoms may include:
- limited ability to effectively communicate;
- difficulty starting a word or sentence;
- anxiety about talking;
- prolonging a word or sounds within a word;
- excess tightness, tension, or movement of the face to produce a word;
- addition of extra words like “um” if difficulty moving to the next word is anticipated;
- brief silence for certain words or syllables, or pauses within a word;
- repetition of a syllable, sound, or word.
Individuals who stammer are no different in intelligence or emotional or intellectual capacity.
However, they are frequently stereotyped as being shy, nervous, sensitive, hesitant, self-conscious, tense, insecure, or introverted.
Types & Causes
With neurogenic stammering, the brain has problems coordinating the different components involved in speaking due to the signaling problems between the nerves or muscles and the brain.
Many people who share this condition find that the stutter becomes more severe under conditions of emotional stress.
For instance, a study established that under stress, non-stutterers went from 0 to 4 percent dysfluencies, for the simple task of saying colors. Stutterers went from 1 to 9 percent.
In addition, some traumatic experiences may create an environment which may lead to the onset of stuttering. In some cases, the stutter may persist even when the effects of the initial trauma have been minimized.
This type of stutter is most common in children younger than 5 years old, especially in males.
It commonly occurs as they develop their language and speech abilities. It is the most common type of stuttering and typically resolves without treatment.
According to the Stuttering Foundation, the following factors put your child at greater risk:
Other Speech Deficits
If your child has other issues speaking and being understood, it is less likely that he will outgrow his stutter.
Boys are five times more likely than girls to stutter.
Length Of Time Stuttering Persists
If your child’s stuttering habit lasts longer than 6 months, it is less likely that he or she will outgrow it.
Children who start stuttering before they reach age 3½ are more likely to outgrow it.
The child is at higher risk if she or he has one or more family members who stutter in adulthood.
Spiritual Meaning of Stuttering
Stuttering prevents a free flow of communication.
It is known that thoughts, emotions, and exhortations make you feel unsafe, and you unconsciously attempt to control any expression of this fact.
Open up to your thoughts, emotions, and desires and accept them without judgment.
That’s how your confidence will grow and you will find it very easy to open yourself to others.
When to Get Professional Help for Your Child
You may want to consult a speech therapist if:
- your child has body or facial movements along with the stuttering;
- repetitions of phrases or whole words become consistent and excessive;
- you have other concerns about your child’s speech;
- syllable and sound repetitions start happening more often;
- your child changes a word for fear of stuttering;
- there is an increase in the prolongations of words;
- your child tries to avoid situations which require talking;
- you notice vocal tension resulting in rising pitch;
- you notice increased facial tension in the speech muscles;
- speech starts to be especially strained.