Stuttering is a complex speech disorder. Stuttering can rotate through periods of low or no stuttering at all to more severe episodes of stuttering. Some parents hesitate to intervene because they see the stutter getting better and worse over and over again, and hope that the “better” part of the cycle will stick.
Treatment of stuttering varies depending on the age of the child. Today, lets address stuttering in 3-6 year old children.
STUTTERING TYPES AND SYMPTOMS
It is somewhat common for children to stutter during their preschool years. Normal disfluencies that you may hear from your child are whole or part word repetitions (rep rep repetition, but but but I….), and will usually occur at the beginning of a sentence. Everyone stutters a bit! The normal range is considered to be around 3% of syllables in a conversational sample.
Types of disfluencies from http://speechtherapywithliz.blogspot.com/search/label/Fluency
Some signs that the stuttering may be of higher concern are when stuttered speech occurs in more than every 1 out of 10 sentences. They might have more repetitions of a word or phrase ( My-my-my-my-my-my-my name is Angie), or prolonged sounds that seems stretched out (Mmmmmmmy name is Angie). They may have behaviors associated with their stuttering, such as eye blinking, looking away, or physical tension.
If you see these signs, speech therapy is an appropriate avenue to pursue! Early intervention can completely eliminate a stutter, or reduce it to a point where it is not noticeable. Stuttering therapy can boost self confidence, and shows a child their voice can and should be heard.
At SpeechWorks, we focus on training parents to lead therapy with their child. We use the Lidcombe Program to reduce and eliminate stuttering in young children because it empowers parents to help their children. It is a well researched program that teaches parents to praise their child’s fluent speech, and how to acknowledge stuttering moments in a parents every day interactions. These “verbal contingencies” are key to helping your child to stop stuttering.
Verbal Contingency: Feedback given to the child from the caregiver during structured or unstructured activities.
The Lidcombe program is straight forward and simple to follow with the training of a certified speech pathologist. The speech pathologist will instruct you on how, when, and how often to use verbal contingencies. They guide treatment, and make sure you are doing the program correctly and that you and your child are enjoying it! Fun is one of the key features of this program.
How long will this take?
It generally takes around 4 months for a child to have little to no stuttering. That’s an average, so some kids will take more or less time. After your child has little to no stuttering for several weeks, you and the speech therapist will work on maintaining your child’s fluency.
You will likely meet with your therapist monthly for 6-8 months to make sure fluency is maintained and to trouble shoot during any periods of disfluency or regression. You will still be using the treatment methods you used in the beginning during this time, just less often.
Many children will outgrow their stutter at this age, while others will not. If your preschooler’s stuttering hasn’t resolved after 6-12 months, they would benefit from seeing a speech therapist.
If you have concerns about your child’s fluency, please contact us! We can give you the tools and training you need to help your child have fluent speech!
Learn more about the Lidcombe Program