Many parents worry about their kids stammering and begin to take it seriously right from the beginning, hurting the child’s self esteem. What needs to be understood is that stammering is quite common up to five years of age and disappears by the time a child reaches 6th year of her life and hence is considered a normal phase of speech development among children. Only 5% of kids develop stammering as dysfluency – problem in the flow of speech.
It is not known what causes stammering but it is believed that it is genetic. Children of the parents who stammer are more likely to have dysfluency problem. Some children also begin to stammer more when they are put under stressful situations like in a new school, relocating to a new town or after birth of a sibling though this is not the primary reason of stammering.
Stammering should not be regarded as a developmental problem as long as it does not persist beyond 6-7 months or begins to show signs of improvement during this period. As parents, we should be careful while dealing with children who stammer. For example, one should not label them as ‘stutters’. It can really affect the self esteem of the child and can lower her confidence levels manifold. Do not try to correct your child when she is talking. Let her finish. Ask others also not to correct her when she talks. Do not ask your child to repeat something when she is talking and neither should you try to make her repeat certain words or sounds.
Talk to your child in a slow and clear manner and talk to your child as much as you can. Read her books slowly and clearly. Let her pick the things herself without indicating clearly her learning gaps. Last but not the least; try to minimize stressful situations for your child.