Stuttering in Children

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60 millions of stuttering people, or 1% of population of the world, consider themselves wounded because destiny “endowed” them with a speech defect - stuttering

millions of stuttering people, or 1% of population of the world,
consider themselves wounded because destiny “endowed” them with a
speech defect - stuttering. Let`s talk about signs of stuttering and
ways of parental help for children with stuttering.

There`s no united approach to a stuttering problem. Most popular pint
of view says that stuttering - is a defect of tempo, rhythm and fluency
of speech, which appears due to vocal apparatus spasms.


There`re reasons, predisposing to stuttering and causing stuttering. Predisposing
reasons are:

Organic lesion of central nervous system, which can appear due to burth trauma,
mother`s infections during pregnancy.

Hereditary factor. In this case a child inherits a special condition, weakness
of CNS.

Baby`s sex. Cases of stuttering are spread among boys 4 times more often, than
among girls.

Left-handed factor.

Too hasty, careless speech of people, surrounding child. In this case stuttering
develops, as an imitation.

“Halved” type of higher nervous activity (children-cholerics and melancholiacs).

And etc.

Causing reasons are: various psychic traumas - acting single-step
(fright) or acting protractedly (complicated atmosphere in family,
wanton punishments, problems in kindergarten, negative atmosphere in a
kindergarten group etc.).


Stuttering appears in the age from 2 to 4-5 years. During this period a
child`s phrasal speech is developing, and it becomes vulnerable for
various negative factors. Symptoms (signs) are displayed irregularly
during whole life. For example, in sutuations, especially important for
a child (answering a lesson, reading a poem etc.), manifestations of
stuttering will be stronger, and while communication with close people
stuttering is manifected weakly or dissapears at all.

Researchers note, that if a child preschool age stuttered, later while
entering school stuttering can either come back or intensify. You know,
beginning of studying is a stressful factor. Circle of acquaintance
changes, a child is made certain demands.

Stuttering can intensify in children while entering school, during teen-age period.

First signs

Spasms in a child`s facial muscles, lips, tongue, respiratory system -
are main signs-symptoms of stuttering. They can be clonic, when a child
repeats the same sound or one syllable. And there`re more serious
spasms - tonic - when a child just cannot start speaking, as if he gets
stuck on a word. There can be spasms of mixed type.

Besides spasms, parents can notice other signs of stuttering - these
are motional tricks. Before starting speaking, a child performs some
action: pulls at his lobe, knocks with his hand.

Speech tricks - a person utters some sound or repeats same word many times, to
start speaking.

Personal changes in a child. Children with stuttering worry because of
their speech, can refuse from communication even with close people. And
in further, such speech pathology can even complicate profession choice
for teenagers. Not to mention the fact that stuttering lowers a child`s
self-appraisal. Although often feelings are not adequate to stuttering
weight. Speech therapists consider that while stuttering a human
personality as a whole suffers, not speech.

Another important sign of stuttering are so-called logophobias. Fear,
dread of speech and situation, in which stuttering can appear, for
example, answering a lesson in front of whole class, turning to a
stranger with some request.

Be careful!

The earlier parents note stumblings in a child`s speech and apply for
specialists, the higher is chance that correction will pass
successfully, and stuttering will be subdued completely.

Which specialists should you apply for? These are neurologist or
psychoneurologist and speech therapist. Stuttering can be subdued
completely only in case, if work is carried out in complex, i.e.

1.    Medical treatment.
2.    Physiotherapy (medicinal sleep, baths etc.).
3.    Psychotherapeutic influence.
4.    Speech therapy.

Overcoming of early or fresh and chronic stuttering differs in matter
of medicinal and correctional work. Early stuttering is stuttering,
which symptoms manifest during 2 weeks. After this period pathologic
reflexes fix and then it`s much more difficult to cope with them.

How parents can help?

According to terms of manifestation of symptoms, there`re early or
“fresh” stuttering (which symptoms manifest during 2 weeks) and chronic
stuttering (more than 2-3 weeks).

While fresh stuttering it`s very important to organize a special
regimen of “speech restriction”. During several days (up to week), you
need to protect your child from some strong impressions and emotions,
both negative and positive. It`s better to recommend home regimen,
minimum communication with highlystrung, active children. You should
refuse from guests.

It`s very good to bring your child to the country during this time.

During this period parents should take care of their speech. They need
to speak quietly, lowly, easy, with a slight singing accent.

During this period doctors recommend to prolong night and afternoon
child`s sleep. And you need to exclude TV, computer and similar
amusements necessarily.

Take care of your child`s wholesome nutrition - porridges, soups, fruits, vegetables,
buttered bread.

It`s recommended to play games, not requiring speech activity from a
child: colouring, applique’ work, dominoes and others. A child should
play with old, known toys, read known books. New impressions are
undesirable during this period.

Speech therapists often recommend playing so-called silent games. For
example, this can be “Fishing”, “underwater trip” (divers), imaginary
excursion along picture-gallery etc.

If you observe such schedule and carry out medical treatment, you can overcome
symptoms of fresh stuttering successfully.

While chronic stuttering such measures will be ineffective. In this
case you need to apply for mentioned specialists, and they will carry
out complex correctional work with a child.

Where stuttering children can receive help?

Children preschool age with stuttering receive logopaedic help in
specialized children speech kindergartens, rehabilitation medical
centers and children psychoneurological hospitals.

Schoolchildren with serious stage of stuttering are taught in special
(correctional) educational institutions. Schoolchildren with light
stage of stuttering can be taught in general schools under the
condition of obligatory visiting speech therapist.

Great stutterers

We can console you reminding that there were many great stutterers in
the world. Starting from Vergil, Demosthenes and Aesop: quite
respectable company! Remember Lewis Carroll, author of unfading “Alice
in Wonderland” and William Somerset Maugham, who ascribe limping to
himself, instead of stuttering in his “Of Human Bondage”: this defect
seemed less humiliating for him for some reason.

It seems actors cannot stutter at all. Not at all! Marilyn Monroe coped
with her defect successfully, vibrating with her voice skilfully,
sometimes imitating aspiration, sometimes tongue-twister, sometimes
spoke at shouting pitch or lowering voice to a ingratiating whisper.
Who knows, may be Monroe would not become divine Marilyn, if her
“defect” would not induce her to such inventiveness. And Gerard
Depardieu makes no secret of his stuttering. That`s why he`s

List of most popular stutterers, who chose politics as their
profession, is very long. The whole world knows famous Winston
Churchill, and only meticulous biographers knew that he stuttered.
Remember Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton, who asked to shut windows
during his speech in parliament, as even the slightest whiff of wind
made his stuttering more noticeable.

And still biblical Moses was the most famous stutterer, who said that
he spoke with difficulty and was tongue-tied. It was Moses, regardless
of his tongue-tie, whom God trusted his tables and ruled to emancipate
Jewry from slavery. 

Demosthenes`s recipe 
stuttered since childhood and pronounced sounds wrongly, however, he
had a great wish to become a famous orator. To achieve this goal,
Demosthenes did following things:
-    uttered a poem, filling his mouth with stones or nuts (this way he trained muscles
of vocal apparatus).

to overcome fear of performing in public, he went to a loud sea coast
and imagined, that it was wild unkindly audience, and uttered texts
industriously and clearly, without paying attention to noise.

he was going and running along fields and mountains, uttering long
poems and this way training his respiratory system.

all know the result of these efforts. Demosthenes made it into history
as a skilled orator, whose speeches were applauded by hundreds of

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