Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of a sentence, perhaps repeating the last word you said over and over again while you wait for the next word to come out? Or perhaps you’ve stumbled all over your words and the sentence you tried to say makes no sense to those around you. For most of us, these things occur only occasionally, perhaps only when we’re very tired. But for some, these things happen every time they go to speak. It can be very debilitating and extremely frustrating. This is known as a stutter, and can also be called a stammer or dysfluency.
Stuttering affects approximately 1% of the population and often begins in the preschool years. At Newcastle Speech Pathology, we frequently get calls from parents who are not sure whether their little one is stuttering or not. So here are some of the things you might see in stuttering:
Word repetition: this is where a child repeats words “I went to to to to to the shops”
Sound repetition: repetition of sounds in words “I w-w-w-went to the shops”
Phrase repetition: “I went-I went-I went to the shops”
Blocks: these are long pauses between words, you may see your child have their face poised ready to make the sound, but no sound comes out “I went to the ___________shops”.
Prolongation: where sounds are stretched out “I went to the shhhhhhhhhops”
You may also see other behaviours associated with the stuttering. These can be little motor tics your child develops, to try and help them move past the stuttering, such as throat clearing, blinking or scrunching up their face.
Your child may have many of these symptoms, or only one.
Stuttering requires different treatment depending on how old the stutterer is and how long they have been affected for. Look out for our second stuttering blog coming soon for some tips on what to do if your little one starts stuttering. Contact our office directly on 02 4948 9800 if you would like more information about assessment and therapy for stuttering.