What Causes Stuttering?
Experts think that a variety of factors contribute to stuttering, including:
- Genetics: About 60% of those who stutter have a close family member who stutters.
- Other speech and language problems or developmental delays.
- Differences in the brain’s processing of language: People who stutter process language in different areas of the brain. And there’s a problem with the way the brain’s messages interact with the muscles and body parts needed for speaking.
- High/increased activity level.
- Rapid rate of speech.
Early Signs of Stuttering
The first signs of stuttering tend to appear when a child is about 18-24 months old as there is a burst in vocabulary and kids are starting to put words together to form sentences. To parents, the stuttering may be upsetting and frustrating, but it is natural for kids to do some stuttering at this stage. It’s important to be as patient with your child as possible.
A child may stutter for a few weeks or several months, and the stuttering may be sporadic. Most kids who begin stuttering before the age of 5 stop without any need for interventions such as speech or language therapy.
However, if your child’s stuttering is frequent, continues to get worse, and is accompanied by body or facial movements, an evaluation by a speech-language therapist around (instead of before) age 3 is a good idea.
The School Years
Usually, stuttering drops to very low levels when kids enter elementary school and start sharpening their communication skills. A school-age child who continues to stutter is likely aware of the problem and may be embarrassed by it. Classmates and friends may draw attention to it or even tease the child.
If this happens with your child, talk to the teacher, who can address this in the classroom with the kids. The teacher also may be able to decrease the number of stressful speaking situations for your child until speech therapy begins.
When to Seek Help
If your child is 5 years old and still stuttering, talk to your doctor and, possibly, a speech-language therapist. You also may want to consult a speech therapist if:
- repetitions of whole words and phrases become excessive and consistent
- sound and syllable repetitions start happening more often
- there is an increase in the prolongations of words
- speech starts to be especially difficult or strained
- you notice increased facial tension or tightness in the speech muscles
- you notice vocal tension resulting in rising pitch or loudness
- your child tries to avoid situations that require talking
- your child changes a word for fear of stuttering
- your child has facial or body movements along with the stuttering
- you have other concerns about your child’s speech
Most schools will offer testing and appropriate therapy if you have been concerned about the stuttering for 6 months or more.
What Parents Can Do
Try these steps to help your child:
- Don’t require your child to speak precisely or correctly at all times. Allow talking to be fun and enjoyable.
- Use family meals as a conversation time. Avoid distractions such as radio or TV.
- Avoid corrections or criticisms such as “slow down,” “take your time,” or “take a deep breath.” These comments, however well-intentioned, will only make your child feel more self-conscious.
- Avoid having your child speak or read aloud when uncomfortable or when the stuttering increases. Instead, during these times encourage activities that do not require a lot of talking.
- Don’t interrupt your child or tell him or her to start over.
- Don’t tell your child to think before speaking.
- Provide a calm atmosphere in the home. Try to slow down the pace of family life.
- Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child or others in his or her presence.
- Maintain natural eye contact with your child. Try not to look away or show signs of being upset.
- Let your child speak for himself or herself and to finish thoughts and sentences. Pause before responding to your child’s questions or comments.
- Talk slowly to your child. This takes practice! Modeling a slow rate of speech will help with your child’s fluency.
Kids might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
- hearing impairments
- cognitive (intellectual, thinking) or other developmental delays
- weak oral muscles
- excessive drooling
- chronic hoarseness
- birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
- motor planning problems
- respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
- feeding and swallowing disorders
- traumatic brain injury
Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children enrolled in therapy early (before they’re 5 years old) tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later.
This does not mean that older kids can’t make progress in therapy; they may progress at a slower rate because they often have learned patterns that need to be changed.
Finding a Therapist
It’s important to make sure that the speech-language therapist is certified by ASHA. That certification means the SLP has at least a master’s degree in the field and has passed a national examination and successfully completed a supervised clinical fellowship.
Sometimes, speech assistants (who usually have a 2-year associate’s or 4-year bachelor’s degree) may assist with speech-language services under the supervision of ASHA-certified SLPs. Your child’s SLP should be licensed in your state and have experience working with kids and your child’s specific disorder.
You might find a specialist by asking your child’s doctor or teacher for a referral or by checking local directories online or in your telephone book. State associations for speech-language pathology and audiology also maintain listings of licensed and certified therapists.
Helping Your Child
Speech-language experts agree that parental involvement is crucial to the success of a child’s progress in speech or language therapy.
Parents are an extremely important part of their child’s therapy program and help determine whether it is a success. Kids who complete the program quickest and with the longest-lasting results are those whose parents have been involved.
Ask the therapist for suggestions on how you can help your child. For instance, it’s important to help your child do the at-home stimulation activities that the SLP suggests to ensure continued progress and carry-over of newly learned skills.
The process of overcoming a speech or language disorder can take some time and effort, so it’s important that all family members be patient and understanding with the child.
A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Speech disorders include:
- Articulation disorders: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can’t understand what’s being said.
- Fluency disorders: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
- Resonance or voice disorders: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
- Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders: these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.
Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:
- Receptive disorders: difficulties understanding or processing language.
- Expressive disorders: difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.
Dealing with Disappointments in life
1. Let it out.
One of the hardest things to do in a world where everything is immediate—we are all under external pressure, and time is a scarce resource—is to just let yourself experience a feeling.
Even at the most difficulties times, such as grieving, on average we only allow ourselves 1 to 2 weeks off or work, and then we mostly expect to get back into normality again.
Human beings are not very good at allowing the experiencing of emotions in full without trying to speed up the process. The only time we have this ability in its purest sense is when we are young children who have yet to be told or taught what is socially acceptable.
Children will tantrum and cry and scream, or laugh until it runs out and they are genuinely ready to move on.
I’m not suggesting we lock ourselves away for weeks at a time whenever we have been disappointed, but to be aware of any sense of obligation to “just get over it.”
Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling without any agenda of speeding up the process. Whatever you are feeling is OK. Take some time to just sit with your emotion and experience it without moving to fix or change it.
Genuinely experiencing emotions, no matter how painful, is one of the beauties of life. Don’t shy away from these moments. Be present in them.
2. Get some perspective.
The wonderful thing about letting it out is that you have given yourself that time. You have said to yourself, “I care about you. I want to allow you to feel what you need to feel and I do not wish to push you or cajole you.”
You have treated yourself like a friend and allowed yourself the space you needed to experience your feelings of disappointment.
Perhaps the person who you feel disappointed by doesn’t even realize they’ve done something to upset you. Maybe they’re stressed out and don’t have the emotional bandwidth to think about it because they aren’t allowing themselves time to experience their emotions.
3. Know your own heart.
Disappointment can ripple through to the core of who you are. If you don’t know what your core values are, you may not have a framework to support you when you experience negative emotions.
For example, one of my core values is open-heartedness. I wish to keep an open heart and be ready to share love and kindness with others, irrespective of how they might behave.
I would like to always try to choose to act with love and kindness towards others, rather than with negativity.
When someone disappoints me and I feel like closing and withdrawing, I remember this core value, then pause and make a choice.
I wish to be an open-hearted person. These negative feelings are feelings, and they will pass. Do I choose to remain open-hearted, or do I choose to follow the easier instinct and close off?
More often than not, I choose to be in line with my values over the automatic response to the situation. It doesn’t happen every single time, but most.
4. Practice acceptance.
As human beings, even though we know that some things are bound to happen, we’re not always willing to accept them.
Every time I am disappointed, I feel overwhelmed by my emotions. I’m inclined to withdraw and blame others, wanting to wallow in my disappointment. Each time, I have to accept that I will feel these things again.
I have to accept that I will continue to be disappointed—that it is a part of life, part of being human. I also have to accept that I will probably continue to struggle to accept this fact, at various points throughout the rest of my life!
This step is a lifelong challenge and fundamental to dealing with disappointment. I will be disappointed, I will disappoint, you will be disappointed, and you will disappoint. Life will be disappointing—but it will pass.
- The first stage of language development is known as the prelinguistic, babbling or cooing stage. During this period, which typically lasts from the age of three to nine months, babies begin to make vowel sounds such as oooooo and aaaaaaa. By five months, infants typically begin to babble and add consonant sounds to their sounds such as ba-ba-ba, ma-ma-ma or da-da-da.
2. Single Words:
- The second stage is known as the one-word or holophase stage of language development. Around the age of 10 to 13 months, children will begin to produce their first real words. While children are only capable of producing a few, single words at this point, it is important to realize that they are able to understand considerably more. Infants begin to comprehend language about twice as fast as they are able to produce it.
3. Two Words:
- The third stage begins around the age of 18 months, when children begin to use two word sentences. These sentences usually consist of just nouns and verbs, such as “Where daddy?” and “Puppy big!”
4. Multi-word Sentences:
- Around the age of two, children begin to produce short, multi-word sentences that have a subject and predicate. For example, a child might say “Mommy is nice” or “Want more candy.”
Language learning starts at birth. Even new babies are aware of the sounds in the environment.
They listen to the speech of those close to them, and startle or cry if there is an unexpected noise. Loud noises wake them, and they become “still” in response to new sounds.
Astoundingly, between 0-3 months babies learn to turn to you when you speak, and smile when they hear your voice. In fact, they seem to recognise your familiar voice, and will quieten at the sound of it if they are crying. Tiny babies under three months will also stop their activity and attend closely to the sound of an unfamiliar voice. They will often respond to comforting tones whether the voice is familiar or not.
Then, some time between 4 to 6 months babies respond to the word “no”. They are also responsive to changes in your tone of voice, and to sounds other than speech. For example, they can be fascinated by toys and other objects that make sounds, enjoy music and rhythm, and look in an interested or apprehensive way for the source of all sorts of new sounds such as the toaster, birdsong, the clip-clop of horses’ hooves or the whirr of machines.
The 7 to 12 months timeframe is exciting and fun as the baby now obviously listens when spoken to, turns and looks at your face when called by name, and discovers the fun of games like: “round and round the garden”, “peep-oh”, “I see” and “pat-a-cake” (These simple games and finger plays have regional names and variants).
It is in this period that you realise that he or she recognises the names of familiar objects (“Daddy”, “car”, “eyes”, “phone”, “key”) and begins to respond to requests (“Give it to Granny”) and questions (“More juice?”).
Now your child points to pictures in a book when you name them, and can point to a few body parts when asked (nose, eyes, tummy).
He or she can also follow simple commands (“Push the bus!”, “Don’t touch; it’s hot!”) and understand simple questions (“Where’s the bunny?”, “Who likes Miffy?”, “What’s in your purse?”).
Your toddler now likes listening to simple stories and enjoys it when you sing songs or say rhymes.
This is a stage in which he or she will want the same story, rhyme or game repeated many times
Top five sites to use:
4. Yahoo HotJobs
Steps to finding a job online:
1. Write a comprehensive resume
- Before you begin, write a comprehensive resume. This should include everything that you could ever want to include on a resume: your entire work, educational, and volunteer history, as well as highly comprehensive lists of your skills and abilities.
2. Google yourself
- his will be a very important step. Employers will frequently do a search on employees. If you have embarrassing information about yourself out on the web, knowing about it beforehand will give you the chance to remove as much of it as possible and prepare to counter anything that cannot be removed.
3. Establish an online presence
- Once you’ve removed all of the undesirable material from the net, you may want to replace it with the kind of things that you’d like potential employers to see. Establish a portfolio, business-related blog, or social media profiles appropriate for work.
4. Search different job sites
- Try the usual job hunting websites (Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, etc.). These will allow you to search by the industry that you’d like to work in, as well as sorting through part-time and full-time work. These websites will cover a wide variety of jobs at a variety of levels, from entry-level to higher positions.
5. Browse Government sites
- If you don’t have luck with the broader job websites, try various government resources. These websites have the benefit of being very trustworthy and the jobs are usually well paid (proportional to the work involved). Oftentimes they will include benefits as well.
7. Make use of college and university websites
- If you are currently in college or have graduated from a college, make use of the job-hunting services they provide. Many colleges will have a website where local businesses can post wanted ads but they will also have broader searching resources if you ask for help.
8. Check local business websites
- Most companies will advertise through their own websites before advertising anywhere else. If there is a major company somewhere in your area, check to see if they’re hiring. You can also check the websites for box stores and chain stores in your area, if you want to work in retail, sales, marketing, and other related fields.
9. Make use of social networking
- Oftentimes, you will be able to find a job with a little old-fashioned networking. Ask your friends over Twitter or Facebook if they know anyone who’s hiring. They may know of positions opening at their place of employment, businesses nearby their home or that they frequent, or they may have noticed one of their friends mentioning a job opening.
10. Sparingly use staffing firms, headhunters, and recruiters.
- If you are desperate, you can use these to find a job but be aware that they will often lead to inferior jobs, may not be worth the money you often have to pay them upfront, or may just simply take advantage of you. If you use one, be sure that it is credible and certainly be wary of any which asks for money first.