As a child grows, it’s inevitable that they will encounter a thousand and one challenges to overcome before their speech and language skills reach their full potential. This of course comes down to the fact that not only are we all born without the ability to talk, but also that every single child the world over is 100% unique and will therefore develop in a different way and at a different rate. This in turn can make things very tricky for parents when it comes to identifying what qualifies for a genuine language development problem and what is simply the kind of hurdle the child will naturally overcome with time.
According to the experts at integratedtreatmentservices.co.uk, perhaps the most commonly queried development issue of all is that of the childhood stammer. Each week, dozens of families reach out to the experts having become concerned that their own child is showing signs of a stammer, when in reality about 90% of such apparent cases are not in fact stammers – they’re simply normal speech development stages.
At the same time however, identifying a stammer as early on as possible is of crucial importance as the earlier it is addressed, the higher the likelihood of it being successfully treated and ideally eradicated entirely. As such, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for a few of the most common warning signs of all that professional help should be sought, if only for full peace of mind.
A general rule of thumb that can be followed with most childhood speech development issues is that of being on the lookout for anything that constitutes either a pattern or a repeat occurrence of the same abnormality over any given period of time. Or in other words, if a child appears to be stammering once or twice every now and then but otherwise seems to be developing strongly, it could just be a normal and healthy stage of their progress. By contrast, if it’s something that seems to be happening on a regular basis, it may be worth calling in the professionals.
What’s also important to look out for are any signs that your child may be getting somewhat stressed, upset or in any way frustrated when trying to speak. In a great many cases, the inability to fully get out what it is they want to say will lead to the child somewhat shutting down and showing reluctance to speak at all. So, while many of the signs of stammers are of course audible, others tend to be based in silence and reluctance to talk.
Seeking a Therapist
In terms of when exactly it makes sense to get in touch with a therapist for a little help and guidance, the truth is that there really is no such thing as the wrong time. The reason being that while being overly cautious may lead to nothing being diagnosed, overlooking a problem for too long can lead to much more difficult speech problems to address. As such, the simple advice is to choose being safe rather than sorry every time and to get in touch with a qualified professional the very moment you even begin to suspect something could be wrong.
If nothing else, they’ll be able to offer your priceless peace of mind.
Should a stammer be identified and a treatment plan laid out, one of the most important things any parent can do is make as much effort as necessary to show their child that a stammer is nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s natural for a child affected by a stammer to be reluctant to speak in order to minimise frustration and embarrassment, but in doing so they will of course impede their progress quite significantly. As such, it’s important to make sure that the subject is one that’s spoken of openly and with confidence, making sure that the child knows it’s nothing to worry about and nothing to hide.
Last but not least, it’s always comforting to know that as far as the long-term future outlook goes, it’s extremely rare for any early childhood stammer to continue through into adulthood without at least being improved in a quite dramatic way. Most stammers when caught early enough are eradicated entirely, so while it can be a quite distressing reality to face it is also something that only ever tends to be temporary. And once you realise there’s light at the end of the tunnel, the treatment process becomes much more effective and far less foreboding.