October 22nd is International Stuttering Awareness Day, a day of celebration and awareness for people who stutter. If you notice that your child has a stutter can be a distressing experience for you and for them. However, as International Stuttering Awareness Day goes to show, you’re not alone.
Around 8% of Australian children between the ages of 2 and 8 will develop a stutter. Many people wonder if their child will grow out of it, and while this is very possible, there’s no way of knowing if your child will or not.
Even young children who stutter are likely aware of it. This may lead to social anxiety and other potential problems if their stutter not addressed early enough.
This article explains when and why you should seek treatment for your child’s stutter. For personalised advice or to make an appointment, contact our team at Chatterbox Speech Pathology today.
Why Seek Treatment For A Stutter
Having a stutter can significantly impact a child’s communication, ability to make friends, and overall quality of life. Delaying treatment in the hopes that their stutter will fade in time runs the risk of allowing the stutter to develop further, and often causes the child distress in the meantime. As having a stutter may be upsetting for them and could lead to potential issues as they grow up, it’s important to seek treatment as early as possible.
Potential Impacts For Children Who Stutter
Even children as young as pre-schoolers will most likely notice if one of their peers has a stutter. Children of all ages can be curious and often blunt, and may hurt your child’s feelings by pointing out their stutter. This can lead to embarrassment and frustration, and may lead to bullying when they get older.
Potential Impacts For Teenagers Who Stutter
Teenagers in particular are especially vulnerable to developing stress and anxiety due to their stutter. Stuttering isn’t caused by stress— it’s thought to be genetic in some cases, though not all— but it certainly can make existing stress or anxiety worse.
Potential Impacts For Adults Who Stutter
Additionally, research shows that a child who stutters is more likely to have poorer outcomes in certain areas as they age. Children who stutter have poorer educational outcomes than their peers, and older people who stutter tend to have lower incomes, poorer health outcomes, and lower occupational attainment.
While a stutter is not linked to intelligence, the social impacts surrounding it may inhibit a person and discourage them from trying to advance in their field. While this is many decades away for young children, it’s important to bear the potential lifelong impacts for your child in mind.
When To Seek Treatment For Your Child’s Stutter
A stutter resolves on its own in around 80% of cases, but other than observing it over time, there’s no definitive way of knowing if your child will fall into this category. Therefore, a parent who notices their child’s stutter should seek treatment for it as soon as possible.
If your child has had a stutter for six months or more, it’s recommended you seek an appointment with a speech pathologist.
As people with stutters age, the treatment for their stutter becomes more complex. The ideal time to treat a stutter is at the pre-school age. Most children who develop a stutter do so between the ages of 2 and 4, which is typically the pre-school period. The Lidcombe program, used by most speech pathologists, has shown to have positive outcomes for children up to 6 years of age.
However, some children don’t start stuttering until later in their childhoods. Regardless of when your child begins stuttering, seeking treatment immediately is the best course of action.
It’s frustrating knowing that you can’t express your thoughts as easily as you would like, and this applies to children as well. If your child has had a stutter for over six months, it’s recommended that you book them in for an assessment with a speech pathologist as soon as possible. Seeking early treatment for a stutter has the potential to make a significant positive impact on a child’s life.
Concerned About Your Child’s Stutter?
At Chatterbox Speech Pathology, our team of experienced speech pathologists can provide an assessment to determine whether speech therapy for kids may be beneficial for them. As stuttering can be assessed and treated through speech therapy, especially in younger children, it’s in their best interests to seek treatment as soon as possible. To book an appointment with us in Bella Vista, Oran Park, Kingswood, or Penrith, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team today.