PDF Understanding Stuttering (Understanding Health & Sickness)

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An important first step is to find out if the child may have a hearing loss.

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Hearing loss may be difficult to notice particularly if a child has hearing loss only in one ear or has partial hearing loss, which means they can hear some sounds but not others. Learn more about hearing loss, screening, evaluation, and treatment. A language development specialist like a speech-language pathologist External will conduct a careful assessment to determine what type of problem with language or speech the child may have.

Stuttering: Making Bumpy Words Smooth

Overall, learning more than one language does not cause language disorders, but children may not follow exactly the same developmental milestones as those who learn only one language. Developing the ability to understand and speak in two languages depends on how much practice the child has using both languages, and the kind of practice. If a child who is learning more than one language has difficulty with language development, careful assessment by a specialist who understands development of skills in more than one language may be needed.

Children with language problems often need extra help and special instruction. Speech-language pathologists can work directly with children and their parents, caregivers, and teachers.

Fluency Disorder

Having a language or speech delay or disorder can qualify a child for early intervention External for children up to 3 years of age and special education services for children aged 3 years and older. Schools can do their own testing for language or speech disorders to see if a child needs intervention.

Is It Truly Stuttering?

Parents, healthcare providers, and the school can work together to find the right referrals and treatment. Children with specific learning disabilities, including language or speech disorders, are eligible for special education services or accommodations at school under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act IDEA External and Section External , an anti-discrimination law.

Healthcare providers can play an important part in collaborating with schools to help a child with speech or language disorders and delay or other disabilities get the special services they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a report that describes the roles that healthcare providers can have in helping children with disabilities External , including language or speech disorders.

Teen Health and Wellness

Birth to 5: Watch me thrive External. Child Development. This is known as covert stammering. The affected person may even avoid talking whenever possible. To speak in a flowing way fluently , a child's brain must develop many different nerve pathways. These pathways must interact in very precise and rapid ways. Stammering usually emerges in childhood as a symptom that the brain's pathways for speech are not being wired normally.

Most young children grow out of their stammer - but the longer the stammering symptoms persist, the more difficult it is to change the brain's wiring. Stammering usually starts when a child is developing speaking skills, and is therefore referred to as developmental stammering. Family genetics are relevant in some cases - someone with stammering in the family seems more likely to develop their own stammer. In rare cases, stammering can start in adult life, when it is known as acquired or late-onset stammering, and is most commonly caused by a stroke, resulting in damage to the brain.

It may also be caused by head injury or severe emotional upset.

People who stammer are no different in intelligence or intellectual or emotional ability. But they are often stereotyped as being nervous, shy, self-conscious, tense, sensitive, hesitant, introverted or insecure. There is no evidence to support this. However, many people who stammer are nervous about speaking, especially in public. Stammering stuttering is common and can occur in childhood and persist into adulthood. It is estimated that about 1 in 20 children under school age may have a stammer at some time. Two out of three children who stammer will naturally grow out of it.

One child in three will not.

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What causes stuttering?

An estimated 1 in adults stammer. Between men stammer for every woman who stammers.

The number of people who stammer does not appear to be increasing or decreasing. Research studies indicate that these figures are the same worldwide and that stammering occurs across all cultures and in all social groups. In the UK, around , children and adults stammer. For most preschool children with a developmental stammer stutter , the stammer goes away without any treatment. If it is needed, treatment is much more effective for preschool children than for older children and adults. Stammering that persists into school age tends to be harder to treat. This is known as 'early intervention'.


Speech therapists, who provide treatment for stammering, are based in local health centres and hospitals. According to the DSM, children must display one or more of the above symptoms to be diagnosed with Stuttering. Symptoms must also significantly interfere with the child's academic, occupational, or social communication. Having described the subtypes of communication disorders, we're now in a position to describe how common they are and how they are treated. Communication disorders are relatively common. Acquired language disorders which arise after a period of normal development and result from hearing loss or some other type of trauma appear to be less common than developmental types which are present from very early on in children's development.

Some subtypes of communication disorders are more common than others. By late adolescence only 0. All Communication Disorders are more common in boys than in girls. For example, boys are three times more likely to develop a stuttering disorder than are girls. Children who seem to have any symptoms of a Communication Disorder should be assessed by a professional who is knowledgeable about normal milestones of speech and language development e.