What is it?
Stuttering is another name for disfluent or 'choppy' speech. Speaking patterns may include pauses, repetitions, additions, revisions, stretching of sounds/words/phrases, and silent blocks. Disfluencies often occur sporadically in preschool children during times of rapid language development and will usually fade over time. If disfluencies persist, it is important to have a speech-language pathologist evaluate the quantity and severity of disfluencies to determine if the child has a fluency disorder.
What causes it?
Disfluent speech can be caused by a variety of factors - genetics, develomental features, and/or envrionmental factors. Every child's speaking patterns are unique.
How is it treated?
The method of treatment often depends on the age of the child and his/her specific language development. Disfluent speech can often be shaped into fluent speech with a combination of strategies which includes relaxed breathing, controlled rate, monitored speaking exercises, and practice outside the school setting.
What can I do at home?
Give your child your full attention when he or she is speaking. Listen without interrupting or finishing his/her sentences. Use a slow, relaxed manner yourself. Take a few minutes each day to model relaxed speech during conversations with him/her. Maintain good eye contact during any disfluencies. Foster a supportive speaking environment at home by trying to slow the pace of your home and reduce the level of excitement. Include all family members in an effort to promote fluency.
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