What is stuttering?
Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by disruptions (disfluencies) in the normal flow of speech. People who stutter (PWS) often experience physical tension in the mechanisms used for speech production (lips, tongue, larynx and jaw). Oftentimes if left untreated it causes embarrassment and fear of talking. Together these result in difficulty communicating effectively. Stuttering can negatively impact academics, careers and social situations without the proper intervention.
What causes Stuttering?
The exact cause of stuttering is unknown. It is known that more boys than girls stutter. There is often a genetic link in the family. It should be noted that parents and family members are not to blame if a child starts stuttering. Stuttering is not a psychological or “nervous” disorder. Telling a PWS to slow down and take a deep breath is often believed to be helpful advice given a child or adult who stutters. This advice can actually cause a someone to stutter more.
What help is available?
Early intervention is vital. Most children begin stuttering between the ages of 2 ½ and 5. Research has shown the earlier intervention is sought, the likelihood of eliminating stuttering increases. Once a child is older than age 7, it is difficult to eliminate stuttering completely, but fluency can be enhanced.
What can parents do if their child starts stuttering?
It is important to establish eye contact and let your child know you are listening to their message rather than how it is being conveyed. Don’t interrupt or finish their sentences. Try and slow down family member’s rate of speech by pausing often. Avoid telling a child to slow down or take a deep breath. Try and avoid questioning your child. This often creates demands on the child It’s better to say things like, “I wonder how your day was” or ” I was thinking about how much I like your drawing”. This way the child answers when they are comfortable. Most importantly, contact a speech pathologist specializing in stuttering treatment immediately if your child starts stuttering. Sometimes one or two visits can teach you strategies to facilitate fluency in your home environment.
Insurance Coverage for Stuttering Treatment
To find out more about health plan coverage, how to submit a claim and other insurance coverage information please visit The Stuttering Foundation website: Obtaining Reimbursement for Stuttering Treatment – you will open a new browser window.