Stammering in children is a condition of undetermined origin. On one hand, it is a disorder in speeh development, which has a normal explanation and disappears over time. On the other hand – it may be conditioned by a number of factors, none of which can be defined as a categorical cause. The therapy of stammering is also difficult to define, and the means of helping stammering children are in the hands of people who surround them, not the child itself.
Causes of stammering in children
Before becoming a defect of speech, stammering often accompanies the child in his early cerebral and speech development. But after 3 years of age, speech disorders has no physiological explanation, and children realize that they are different, and the attitude of other people also changes. The behavior of the family members is also very important, so therapy should also be focused on them.
Scientists do not give a clear cause of stammering. When thoughts are quicker than speech and they are so complicated, the child can not yet “dress” them in words. As a result, the child blocks completely on a certain word and repeats it or makes a certain sound. Another factor can be the sudden stress – divorce, other psychological trauma.
If the stammering is noticed when the child is around 3 years old, which does not pass over time, then a logopedist should see the kid. He would most certainly define whether it is a stammering disorder and the respective degree. Then everything is strictly individual. If the child goes to kindergarten, it is very important to inform the personnel that the kid does not go to therapy yet (because it is recommended after 5 years of age) and show tolerance by not making the kid speak in front of a group, telling stories or finish his sentences if they notice that the kid feels anxious due to his ability to explain, feeling tension.
If at the age of 5 the child is still stammering and a speech therapist confirms the speech disorder, then it is time to start a therapy. Children already understand that they are different, and others look at them in a strange way when they speak.
Many of them can not cope with the tension that they are different, so their stammering can become even worse. At school age, the child is supposed to be psychologically stable and to know how to deal with the attitude of other children. Because kids can be so cruel and have no scruples to ridicule and offend the different ones.
Curiously, many stammering kids lose their speech disorder while they sing, talk on the phone or eat. These situations should be used because they give self-confidence to the stammering child.
How to help a stammering child during the educational process in english language summer camp “LuckyKids”:
- We do not show your anxiety in any way, and do not talk about stammering with other people in the presence of the child, even if the kid does not participate in the conversation but he is close.
- W do not make statements such as: „speak more clearly”, „think before you speak”, „take a breath”. The child can sense that something is wrong, because you do not say the same things to everyone else, right?
- We look the child right in the eye, and do not rush to finish his sentences. Only if the kid experiences too much pressure then you can help him with some words.
- We reduce dymanics, discussions, decrease intonation during conversation and try to talk slowly, calmly and make pauses. This is challenging, but it is essential when dealing with stammering children.
- We observe when the stammering gets more intense and when it decreases, so you can react adequately. If the child sings without stammering, then use songs and music in the lessons.
- If the kid experiences difficulties to read aloud or to tell a story or describe an event that occurred during the day – do not make him do it in front of his classmates, instead you can speak – slowly and calmly, tell him what you did duing the day, you can ask encouraging questions, which are short and clear.
- For us it is very important to make the child feel that it is no different from the other kids, do not emphasize, but also do not underestimate the problem – the therapy is a must.
- We believat that it would be very useful to teach with the help of toys and dramatization making the characters „talk“.
- We often leave the child in the company of kids who are close friends with him or with kids that he finds pleasant during his english language education in the camp.
- We encourage stammering kids to play team games or we assign tasks to small teams, or to partners with whom the child feels well and does not feel anxious to communicate verbally or in a on-verbal way.
- We let the child take the initiative – especially during the project activity. This gives the child confidence and he is able to overcome his natural shyness. If the kid is jelaous or feels a specific worry, then we talk to him to reduce the tension. Try to think about the kid’s reactions, so you can take preventive measures accordingly.
- We focus on what the child says, not on the difficulty he experiences while the says it.
- We never show impatience to the child.
- We always give the kid a chance to show what he has learned in a non-verbal form. You can use written ways or drawings for the purpose – essays, projects are recommended.
- W set goals in english learning that can be accomplished both verbally and in writing.
- We usually give an example by showing patience and interest in what the stammering child says, so you can teach other children to behave in this way with their classmate.
- We never let the kids make jokes and offend the stammering child. We are prepared with ideas on how to sanction such behavior that are adequate to the situation.
- We speak privately with kids who ridicule stammering children and explain to them the consequences of their acions.
- We allow children with such problems to feel that they are doing well. Activities causing anxietyin the child should be avoided.
- We work towards motivation of the child, because this is the most powerful psychological tool for the development of the speech in stammering children.
- Bilingual children have less problems with speech than kids who communicate in only one language. The second language improves the speech apparatus and contributes to the ease when using words in foreign language.
Some days will be better than others. We always encourage the stammering kid to become more involved in such better days.
Literary works, songs and musical works in a foreign language are extremely beneficial in the conditions of a non-violent daily communication. Preparation of presentations and search for materials that will be presented in a written or digital form, work with kids of the same agewho are trusted, can be a key factor that can contribute to the possible therapy.
Some facts about stammering
Stammering is a speech disorder that affects 1% of the world’s population, or in other words– 60 million children, teenagers and adults. The problem is 4 times more common in men than in women.
20% of children go through a similar stage of development, in which they have stammering problems.
Interestingly, people who usually stammer do not have this problem when they sing, whisper, participate in chorus, or when they do not hear their own voice. Still, there is no unanimous opinion among the world’s experts that can explain this phenomenon.
Finally, I will allow myself to make a reference to a movie that addresses the problem of stammering and the way to overcome it – „The King’s speech”. It tells the story of King George VI, who managed to overcome the stammering and to unite the nation on the eve of World War II, making his famous speech that remained in the history.
At first, few imagined that the British production addressing the problems of the stammering monarch will impress the general audience, but the movie won 4 „Oscars”, and the income from the movie exceeded the expectiations several times.
This is just one of thousands of examples of work through the motivation of the stammering person who manages to overcome the physiological limitations!