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Monday, October 11

STUTTER ! Something Serious?

When her tot started stuttering, people said it would go away. But this mother was not willing to ignore it. She shares how she helped her son talk confidently again.
" Don't worry", said friends and family when my three-year-old started to stutter. " He's just learning new words". But after a few weeks of " I-I-I want's" and " L-l-like's ", one particular incident made me decide to take action.
We were in the middle of our usual bedtime story and my little fellow was stuck on the word "spot". All that was coming out of his mouth was " S-s-s..."
I wanted patiently, but suddenly my son clamped his hands over his mouth and said himself, "S-s-s..stop it. Sp-sp-speak properly. T-t-talk like a big boy."
It chilled my heart to see my little boy so frustrated and angry with himself.
Over the next few weeks, my paediatrician monitored my son's stuttering pattern. I also requested his pre-school teachers for regular updates about his stuttering, and implemented a zero-tolerance policy on any teasing.
Thankfully, my older six-year-old son showed restraint towards his little brother. My younger son's teachers also kept an eye on his classmates.
At home, my husband and I spent time reading to our son, encouraging him to tell stories at his own pace. After about three months of all this, to my relief, the stutter had gone.
During that time I researched the topic of stuttering in children, and found that the crucial time for diagnosis and treatment is between the eges of two and five. And the signs are easy to miss.

So what are the signs to watch out for? Make a note if you observe the following symptoms in your child :

  • Excessively repeats words and phrases. For example, "I-I-I want that..."
  • Stretches syllables. For example, " Sssshhow me how..."
  • Shows facial tension, blinks,grimaces or jerks his or her head.
  • The child struggles with speech and avoids situations where he or she will have a talk.
  • Has blocks in speech . This indicates that the child is trying to speak but cannot get the sound out.

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