What Causes Stuttering in Children? How is the treatment?

How is stuttering in children, how is temporary stuttering different from permanent one, what should mothers with stuttering children do?

Founder of Retorya Language, Speech and Development Center, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist Çağdaş Karsan answered your questions about stuttering.

What is stuttering?

Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects the fluency dimension of speech. It is examined in three different types.

  1. Developmental stuttering in children,
  2. Chronic stuttering that continues in adulthood,
  3. Neurogenic stuttering due to previous neurological events.

Which stuttering is permanent?

To the question of whether we can talk about temporary stuttering and later stuttering, expert Speech and Language Therapist Çağdaş Karsan answers:

Childhood stuttering, or developmental stuttering, disappears in about 80% of children after a while. But other types are permanent.

What causes stuttering?

The mechanism that causes the formation of stuttering is still unknown. However, studies show that stuttering is a neurologically based speech problem.

Studies comparing individuals with and without stuttering have revealed some regional activation differences in the brain. These studies indicate that there are some differences in the motor realization of speech in the brain of individuals with stuttering.

Families may wonder if stuttering has anything to do with intelligence development. stuttering; It has nothing to do with any developmental dimension such as intelligence, cognitive development, social development, psychological development. This is a very important and important point to be emphasized. It is very important that everyone who works with or comes into contact with people who stutter has this information.

How do you know if a child stutters?

Contemporary Karsan says the following about how to understand stuttering in children :

The developmental stuttering in a child is decided according to the types of stuttering in the child and whether the stuttering is permanent.

Generally, a history of stuttering that lasts longer than 3 months and the presence of core stuttering symptoms in the form of prolongation, sound-syllable repetitions, blocks during speech are sufficient reasons to start speech therapy.

So, are the literacy skills of stuttering children different from other children? Karsan says that the stuttering problem in children does not cause a problem in reading and writing. Only children with stuttering show stuttering during reading aloud performance. However, this does not mean that there is a problem with their reading ability.

When does stuttering occur?

Most often, the first snagging behaviors begin to be seen in children between the ages of 2.5 and 5. But this does not mean that stuttering will be permanent. Stuttering can be confused with nonfluent speech in the normal process of language development. The fluency seen naturally in the language development process consists mostly of word repetitions, phrase/sentence repetitions and the use of filling sounds such as “eee” and “aaa”.

In developmental stuttering, as mentioned before, sound and syllable repetitions, sound extensions and blocks are seen. Therefore, we can say that attachment types have distinctive features. If we say how long developmental stuttering lasts , it is possible to say that while it lasts for a few months in some children, it can continue for years in others.

Let’s say how long temporary stuttering lasts . Temporary stuttering can resolve on its own within 6 months, or in cases where it does not go away, speech can be restored with the help of therapy.

In addition, an effortful speech style can be seen in children who show stuttering behaviors. In other words, it can be observed that some of these children have difficulty speaking and show physical effort. This is a distinctive feature as it is not the case for children in the normal language development process.

Which doctor should take the child for stuttering?

Speech and language therapists are the specialists that should be consulted when a child starts to show hang-up behaviors. Since stuttering is not a psychological problem, it will only be a waste of time and effort to go to specialists working with human psychology-related disorders such as psychologists, psychiatrists or pedagogues.

Stuttering treatment methods

Is there an age limit for stuttering therapy?

Early diagnosis and initiation of intervention as soon as possible is of great importance in this disorder, as in any other disorder. There is no age limit to start stuttering treatment. Individuals of all ages can start speech therapy.

What is stuttering therapy?

Stuttering therapy is the entire therapy process that aims to teach therapy techniques to reduce the frequency and severity of stuttering behaviors and to prepare the person socially and psychologically for different speech situations. It can be performed in different contexts, environments and using different techniques.

Is language therapy necessary for the treatment of stuttering?

There is no cure for stuttering. In other words, no intervention can guarantee the disappearance of speech disorder. However, its natural extinction can be helped or controlled. The only way to do this is through speech therapy.

Who can use stuttering drugs and how?

There is no drug that has a therapeutic effect for stuttering. However, when individuals with stuttering apply to psychiatrists, these specialists prescribe anxiety-reducing drugs. Using these drugs does not cure stuttering; it can only temporarily reduce the symptoms of stuttering.

Tips for stuttering in children

Unfortunately, there is no shortcut or a stand-alone application for stuttering children, but there is great benefit in learning and using the right parental attitudes. Families may have mistakes against their children who stutter, first of all, it is necessary to stay away from these wrong behaviors.

Families should not emphasize teasing while dealing with their children first and say “Stop!”, “Calm down!”, “Say it again!” They should not give feedback on the way of speaking, such as

Behaviors such as getting angry with their children for being teased, expressing their regret, interrupting their words, completing their words instead, not giving them the opportunity to express themselves are also wrong behaviors and may cause the child’s anxiety and avoidance behaviors to increase. As a result of these behaviors, an increase in the child’s hang-ups can also be seen.

Instead of these, listening to the child until he or she has finished speaking, not interrupting, not breaking eye contact, and even exhibiting voluntary hang-ups while talking to him will help him relax.

In addition, it is obvious that there are some difficulties experienced by stuttering children and their families. Knowing this and providing support to the child in this sense is a must, says Çağdaş Karsan.

Negative feedback from the social environment and false beliefs about stuttering form the basis of the difficulties children and families experience.

  • Children’s exposure to peer bullying,
  • being tagged by friends
  • On the other hand, families coming from the environment; “Is he always going to talk like that?”, “Pity the kid!” expressions like pity or “Did you take such and such a person?”, “Did you drink such and such a drug?” Being exposed to endless advice such as children and adults psychologically wears out.

This process can result in the child and family’s social isolation or denial of the situation, both of which have their own dangers.

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