Kid’s Korner: Assisting a Stammering Child

Stammering, also known as stuttering is a condition that occurs in childhood. Stuttering occurs when normal speech is interrupted by the repetition or extension of certain sounds or words. In some cases, this condition lives with the individual to his/her teenage years or maybe adulthood. It is common for very young children to have a temporary period of stammering as they grow.

This usually occurs due to certain difficulties in children expressing themselves fluently and can be mostly found in children between the ages of 2 and 5. This could be seen as completely normal, as this is the stage of speech and language development.

As they grow, their speech improves and stammering is outgrown, however, some kids do not outgrow it. This is because stammering is not merely having difficulty while speaking, it is a speech disorder which can range in frequency and intensity from mild to severe.

There are several effects stammering can have on a child. A child who stammers is more likely to be bullied and picked on in school. They are also likely to have low self-confidence.

When this condition is not properly managed, it could take a great toll on the child’s mental and emotional health. Here, I would be sharing tips on some of the things you can do to help a child that stutters.

  • Always speak in a calm and slow manner to your child to encourage others around you to do so.
  • Never be impatient or show your anger when your child is trying to talk to you. Ensure you always go at his/her pace when trying to get what he/she is saying.
  • Avoid interrupting your child or finishing his/her sentence.
  • When communicating with your child, always ensure you maintain eye contact while he/she is speaking.
  • Ensure you do not call attention to your child’s stammer. Do not make it seem obvious to him/her.
  • Stammering is a medical condition, so treat it like one. Consult a speech therapist. Your doctor would make a referral for your child and this would go a long way to help.