What do you know about stuttering?

It’s likely you know or have come across someone who stutters – you may even stutter yourself!

Most people know what stuttering is, however there is still so much that is misunderstood by the general public about stuttering. Here we share some information about stuttering and when to get in contact with one of our Speech Pathologists.

Stuttering can be described as an interruption to the flow of speech. There are different types of stutters including:

  • Repeating sounds or syllables e.g. “M-m-m mum”
  • Repeating words e.g. “Can can can I have that”
  • Prolongations (dragging the sound out) e.g. “Mmmmmmy turn”
  • Blocks (where no sound comes out at all) e.g. “I……want that one”.
  • You may also see other behaviours like blinking or head nodding.

Stuttering can be variable. If you know someone who stutters, you may notice that they are more ‘fluent’ or have less stutters in certain situations or when talking with certain people.

There is still no known cause of stuttering. It is thought that it is caused by a problem with the neural processing (or brain activity) that’s involved in speech production. There is also a genetic component involved too – stuttering often runs in families and it is seen more in boys than girls.

When does stuttering start?

It is common for us to see children begin to stutter around two to four years of age. Stuttering is often seen when children start to put words together into short sentences. You may notice that the stuttering appears suddenly, or it may gradually increase over time. The first signs of a stutter usually present as repetitions of sounds or syllables (e.g. “I I I I want…”), but as it progresses you may start to see other signs such as your child holding their lips/tongue in the same position for a while.

We know that stuttering is not correlated with intelligence and that stuttering occurs in all cultures and languages. Stuttering is not caused by a traumatic event, parenting style or by copying someone who stutters. We know that individuals who stutter, may also have challenges with stress or anxiety, and although the stuttering is not caused by these, they can make the stuttering more severe.

Can stuttering be fixed?

We do know that young children can ‘grow out of’ their stutter, especially within the first few months of onset, but often children need speech pathology support. There is lots of evidence indicating that with the right approach intervention for stuttering can be successful!

If you have concerns about your child’s stutter and if it will resolve on its own or whether treatment is required, get in contact with one of our Speech Pathologists who will be able to talk to you about you child’s individual situation. No two people who stutter are the same – so getting to know your child’s individual needs helps us to tailor an intervention approach that works for you!

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