Hobartville, Sydney & Tuggerah, Central Coast NSW 0449 704 070
Have you seen the famous movie with Colin Firth, called The King’s Speech? Being a speech pathologist, while watching it I was both amused and horrified. For those that have not seen it, I would recommend watching it (although it depends what kind of movies you like!). It is about King George, who has a bad stutter (or stammer, as they refer to it). It follows his journey, with an Australian speech therapist, Lionel, who works to improve his stutter to make public announcements. The process he follows and the methods they try are both hilarious, and shocking! We have come a long way since then, with our knowledge of what a stutter is and how we can fix it. Stuttering can occur in children from as young as 2-3 years of age onwards. Stuttering is when speech is haltered or disrupted, by hesitation or repetition of sounds, words or sentences. This is totally involuntary and the speaker is unable to control their fluency. There are many different types of stuttering, including repetition of:
  • Sounds (c, c, car)
  • Syllables (ba, ba, baby)
  • Words (I, I, I)
  • Phrases (I see, I see, I see)
  • Blocks (no sound produced, I — want)
First of all, it is important to know, that repetition of words or phrases can be a natural part of development for boys and girls. As children learn new words and start to make sentences, it can be all too much for their brains. They have a million thoughts and ideas and just can’t get it all out fast enough. If the repetition persists for longer than 4-6 months, then we would classify it as a stutter and recommended therapy. Sometimes, children are aware of their stutter (particularly if others around them draw attention to it), or they may not realise at all. These days, there is so much research done to find the cause of stuttering. If your child is stuttering, there is no 100% pinpoint cause for it. However, we can look at possible links, if any, including: family history of stuttering, trauma during development, overall delayed development in other areas (gross/ fine motor, intellect) and brain behaviour. Parents, friends, siblings or teachers can often feel distressed or anxious about their child if they start to repeat themselves. This is a normal feeling. The best thing someone else can do, is to keep eye contact with the child, encourage them to take their time and let them know that you are listening and they are being heard. Focus on WHAT the child is saying rather than HOW they are saying it. If you are concerned, get in contact with us to have a chat and get some information. Early help is the key for children. There is no cure for stuttering, but it has a very high resolution rate when treated with The Lidcombe Program, with children under 12 years of age. There are also many other programs to treat stuttering in children, however we find The Lidcombe Program works best. There are also many programs available for adult treatment, however it takes a lot of persistence and effort the older one gets. There are many famous, wealthy and successful people who have experienced stuttering. It is not a reflection of IQ or abilities. If you are concerned about your child give us a call. It is best to talk to a speech therapist, as there is so much information on the internet these days, you want to make sure the information you read is credible. Some of the following pages we recommend: Children under 6 years: http://www.lidcombeprogram.org/families-care-givers/stuttering-in-0-6-yrs/ http://sydney.edu.au/health-sciences/asrc/ http://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/library/2013Factsheets/Factsheet_Stuttering.pdf Remember, early help is the key. Ask about your child, sooner, than later.