If a child stutters or stammers, is it part of a developmental phase or is it a disorder? Learning how to form words and effectively communicate is all part of developing language as a child. Children from 2 to 4 years of age can certainly mispronounce, forget or struggle with words. This is a typical part of the process of growing up! However, the issue becomes categorized as a disorder called disfluency if the stuttering or stammering persists for longer than 6 months.
Disfluency, or the impairment of fluent speech, can be displayed with repetition of certain sounds, prolonged sounds or blocks in sounds while speaking. Unusual facial and body movements can occur during the child’s effort to speak. It is an extremely common obstacle that roughly 5% of all children encounter. Disfluency affects 4 times as many boys as it does girls and the odds increase if another family member also stutters.
Speech-Language Pathologist and Eyas Landing Therapist, Kaitlyn Zielinski, specializes in fluency, articulation and phonological disorders. Her job is to give children the tools that they need to overcome any type of disfluent speech, including stuttering. Although everyone is impacted differently by stuttering, it can have a significant impact on development and socialization. The earlier a child can learn these tools through intervention with a therapist, the more beneficial these strategies are in attaining fluent speech.
So, how’s it done? Kaitlyn and the Eyas Landing therapists use a combination of direct and indirect treatments. Direct treatment is what you are imagining when you are thinking of Speech Therapy. Kaitlyn works directly with the child in a clinical, home or school setting. They work on fluency shaping, stuttering modifications, self-modeling and regulated breathing. All of these are made fun through play, of course. Goals start small by focusing on managing and understanding breathing. Skills build into identifying where and how speech is produced to understand where our speech comes. Each child will receive an individualized plan for just what they need. The plan will include hierarchy levels for both fluency enhancing strategies and stuttering modifications that can be modified as a child goes through the therapeutic process.
Indirect treatments is where Eyas Landing stands out and is the focus on the family unit. Indirect treatment includes a collaboration with parents on the individualized plan, goal setting, parent coaching, and clinician modeling. This partnership is meant to reduce anxiety in parents and children alike. The combination of the direct and indirect treatments strategies creates a confidence boost knowing that a child has all of the tools they need to overcome stuttering.
Contact Kaitlyn & the Speech-Language Pathology Team at Eyas Landing