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When Speech Stuttering Became A Problem

Posted Sep 24 2010 6:51pm

< p>Approximately 2.5% of children under the age of five have a speech stuttering problem at some point. While the propensity to have speech problems seems to run down family lines, scientists have yet to identify the gene associated with the disorder. It’s also been learned that boys are much more likely to stutter than girls, for reasons unbeknownst to researchers. Evidence of stuttering is marked by difficulty in starting a sentence and the repetition of certain syllables or words. These speech malfunctions are often accompanied by rapid eye blinking, jaw or lip tremors and muscular tension in the face.

Scientists aren’t sure what exactly causes stuttering, but researchers hypothesize that there are a number of regions in the brain that play a part in stammering stuttering; namely the cortex, the cerebrum and the cortical pathways. In the past, doctors thought that blocking a chemical called “dopamine” in the brain would reduce the incidence of stuttering, but now they’re finding that increasing the level of GABA chemical can work in much the same way. Speech problems tend to run in the family, indicating that there is an unknown genetic factor at work. With developmental stuttering, children may find it hard to synch their thoughts with their language abilities, and in adult cases of strokes or brain injuries, neurogenic stuttering occurs because there are lesions or structural abnormalities in the motor-speech region of the brain.

As a parent, you may be wondering when to take your child to see a doctor about his or her speech stuttering problem. After all, it’s common for kids between the ages of 2 and 5 to trip over their words. Generally, you should visit a doctor or consider speech therapy if the condition lasts more than six months, it becomes more frequent, it occurs along with facial twitches/rapid blinking/tension, it affects your child’s schoolwork or social life, it causes emotional problems like speech avoidance or if it continues past age 5 while reading in school.

It’s vital for parents to avoid actions that will increase speech stuttering problems. For instance, asking too many questions in succession can make for a child who stutters. Interrupting or forcing the child to start over and repeat stuttered words over and over again will also do no excellent. If anything, it will only humiliate your child even more. Parents should also avoid forcing their children to speak in front of groups or bark out instructions like “Reckon before you speak,” “Slow down,” “Take your time” or “Take a deep breath.” Instead of drawing attention to the speech disorder, parents should try to be more supportive and sensitive.

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