A stutter is most commonly observed in children around toddler age, between 2-5 and this interruption to their speech flow is a result of them learning how to process language and use it to communicate at a compromised rate. Some ways in which the stutter may manifest itself is through the repetition of certain syllables, words or phrases – prolonging certain ones, while finding they’re unable to access others. Talking, like walking, being toilet-trained, learning to run without falling, learning to ride a bike, takes all children practice before mastery occurs. However, there are many children whose stutter follows them into grade school, high school, and even adulthood. If you notice your child having difficulties overcoming their stutter, consider seeing a speech-language therapist for an assessment.

Clinical experts know that for children speech therapy Toronto experts can offer is vital to their overcoming their stutter or other fluency issue, and treating your child based on their specific strengths and weaknesses should be at the top of their priority list. If you live in the GTA, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of options both private and public at your disposal. Look for a clinic (such as Toronto’s Simone Friedman SLS) that has been in the business of treating speech language issues — such as a stutter — for decades.

When one talks about a stutter, they are, of course, referring to it under the umbrella of fluency; the feature of speech that describes the continuity, smoothness, and rate of speech.  Often disfluencies occur along with physical tension, negative emotions, and even avoidance of words or speaking altogether. In unfortunate cases, stuttering will hold a stigma, causing children to be bullied at school – creating negative self esteem. In these cases, children may train themselves to resent their stutter rather than work through it.

While stuttering is often genetic, a child may develop a stutter, and hold on to it after toddlerhood for other reasons. It is important to ensure the stutter isn’t a sign of other speech and language problems, or developmental delays – at Simone Friedman SLS, highly trained and knowledgeable speech-language pathologists can offer your child personalized support while catering to their specific needs. Many people who stutter process language in a different part of their brain than people who don’t, and helping them access it will allow them to overcome blockages.Look for programs that focus on eliminating or significantly reducing stuttering in everyday speech situations.

At times, a previous stutter pops up when a person’s secure environment is compromised such as during times of fear, distress, confusion, over-stimulation, or exhaustion. The right speech-language pathologists can assist individuals who stutter to work through the negative emotions that surround the condition, reducing speaker fear and improving fluency overall with a set of tools and encouragement – making them more conscious about their stutter and better able to develop self-managed procedures so that they may be able to address increases as time progresses.

The right clinic will also encourage parents to participate in the therapy process. Do not insist your child always speak correctly; instead allow the act of talking to be fun, and an opportunity to test drive their vehicle of speech in a safe environment. Let your child speak for themselves, allowing them to finish their thoughts and sentences, and then pause before responding to them. Have conversations with your child when possible without interrupting, and avoiding criticism. If you see your child is stressed or uncomfortable, do not force talking upon them – encourage quiet play or other activities to soothe the mind and slow down the pace of their day. Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child or others in their presence, keeping eye contact. Most importantly, talk slowly – it will encourage them to do the same, improving their fluency and consistency in their speech over time.

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