Child stuttering; should I be worried?

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Child onset fluency disorder(stuttering)- This refers to the occasional disturbances in the normal fluency and time patterning of speech that are inappropriate to the individual’s age and language skills persist over time. The onset range from 2-7 years. Most of the time they start gradually but it can occur suddenly as well.

  • The child may not be aware of these dysfluencies initially but as the disorder progresses the disturbances become more frequent and interfering occurring in most meaningful words or phrases in the utterances.
  • As the child grows up and becomes more aware of the frequencies help she may avoid occasions that involve public speaking, telephoning and instead use short and simple words to avoid stuttering. The speaker may also adjust the rate of speech ( slower or faster, avoiding certain words
  • The child onset fluency disorder is accompanied by motor movements like eye blinks tics, lips tremors and face tremors, jerking of the head, increase in breathing movements, and fist-clenching.
  • The magnitude of disturbance varies from situation to situation. It is extreme in situations where there is pressure to communicate. E.g class speech, interviews, reporting to school. dysfluency is absent during oral reading, singing, talking to pets and inanimate objects
  • Children with fluency disorder show arrange of language abilities so the relationship between fluency disorders and language abilities is unclear
  • Most of the children recover from stuttering and the age of eight or just at the beginning of adolescence.

Childhood fluency disorder characterized by ;

  1. Words are pronounced with excess physical tension
  2. Monosyllabic words repetitions (e.g. I-I-I-I-I don’t want.)
  3. Circumlocutions( using alternative words to avoid problematic words)
  4. Silent or audible blocking(filled and unfilled pauses in speech)
  5. Broken words (e.g. pauses within a word)
  6. Sound prolongations of consonants as well as vowels e.g. (you ca-a-a-a-not)
  7. Sound and syllable repetitions

Effects of stuttering.

  • Stress and anxiety can worsen this condition leading to social impairment.
  • This stuttering interferes with academic or occupational achievements or with social communication.
My little brother used to stutter a lot when he was a kid but now can't seem to shut up. Do you know any kid who stuttered or still is having problems with speech fluency?

However, it's not wise to assume that very difficult in fluency is a childhood-onset fluent disorder; some other different diagnosis may be;

Sensory deficits; dysfluencies may be associated with hearing impairment or other sensory deficits. When the speech dysfluencies are in excess to those that normally accompany sensory deficit then childhood-onset fluency disorder can be diagnosed.

Normal speech dysfluencies; the disorder should be distinguished from the normal dysfluencies that normally occur in children especially toddlers involving word –a word or phrase repetition e.g I want, I want ice cream Incomplete phrases, interjections unfilled pauses, and parenthetical remarks. However, if these difficulties increase even as the child gets older then the diagnosis for child stuttering can be made.

Medication side effects; stuttering can also be a result of medication and this can be seen with a temporal relationship in exposure to medication
Adult-onset dysfluencies-if stuttering occurs to a person during or after adolescence it is then referred to as adult-onset dysfluency. Adult stuttering is associated with neurological insults and a variety of medical conditions and medical disorders and may be specified with them.

Touretter disorder-vocal tics ants and repetitive vocalizations of Tourette's disorder should be distinguishable from repetitive sounds of childhood-onset fluency disorder by their nature and timing

What to do?
Encourage the individual to speak more without any pressure to avoid any stress or anxiety as this can worsen the stuttering. The more relaxed they feel the less they stutter. That is why the dysfluencies cannot be observed when an individual is in a comfortable environment e.g singing and talking to pets.

Dsm v- psychiatric association.

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