Parents put a lot of effort into helping their child learn language skills as early as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes their efforts are thwarted by stuttering. In an attempt to solve the problem, worried parents often immediately turn to a speech therapist or try to address it using folk remedies. We suggest that you understand the causes of logoneurosis, diagnostic methods, and of course, find the right approach to eliminating this defect.
Why does stuttering occur?
To begin with, let’s explain that stuttering or logoneurosis is a neurosis-like or neurotic disorder in which normal speech flow is impeded by repetitions, prolongations, or interruptions of sounds, syllables, words, and even phrases.
Many parents are mistaken in thinking that stuttering is a psychological problem. In a recent interview, Bridget Walsh, an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Michigan, dispelled the myth about the psychosomatics of stuttering in children: “Stuttering is not a psychological problem, but a disruption in the development of the nervous system. It occurs due to pathologies in the neurological development of the areas of the brain that are involved in the planning and reproduction of speech. It is also important to consider that genetics plays a certain role in the pathogenesis of the defect.”
At first glance, it seems very scary. However, we hasten to reassure you if you are wondering if stuttering can be cured in a child. The answer is yes! But first, let’s find out more about what can cause stuttering:
- The neurosis-like form is caused by systemic neurosis. This type of stuttering is associated with genetic factors. Typically, children in this case suffer from a delay in speech development, and their cognitive processes develop significantly slower than other children. Working with a child with this type of stuttering requires special diligence, as the process can progress with age and lead to logophobia.
- The neurotic form arises from experienced stress. The mechanism of stuttering in this case occurs through spasm of the speech muscles due to experienced fear or shock. This type of logoneurosis in children is much more effectively treatable.
Based on the type, specialists select modern methods of stuttering treatment based on diagnosis.
Can stuttering go away without treatment?
There is a belief that stuttering in preschool children goes away with age. Is this true? In search of a competent answer, we turned to scientists. Professor and Head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Utah, Michael Blomgren, based on his research, published a report in the journal Psychol Res Behav Manag.
Blomgren comments on the attitude towards treating speech disorders: “Stuttering is most common in young children, about 5%. Only 0.5% to 1% of preschoolers stutter. These figures show that most children (around 75%) recover from stuttering naturally, although obviously not everyone succeeds. There is currently no guarantee that the child will stop stuttering naturally. Multifactorial treatment of stuttering in adolescents and preschoolers has many positive aspects.”
How should parents act if their child stutters?
An important role in identifying the defect is played by a competent examination of children with stuttering. The first specialist who should give their verdict is a psychotherapist. Their conclusion is based on the somatic and mental state of the child.
However, in order to quickly identify the cause and treatment of stuttering in children, parents should prepare answers to a series of questions that will be asked by the specialist:
- when was the stuttering first noticed;
- the suspected cause of the disorder;
- whether there were any speech disorders preceding the stuttering (such as delayed speech development);
- whether there have been any attempts to treat stuttering at home before;
- whether there are times when the stuttering disappears;
- whether there has been a change in the child’s behavior since the onset of stuttering.
Depending on the collected medical history, additional methods of examination may be prescribed by the psychotherapist:
Only after completing a comprehensive examination, effective techniques for eliminating stuttering in schoolchildren and young children are prescribed.
Important! One should not panic and investigate the brain as the first step in diagnosing stuttering in preschoolers and teenagers. The psychiatrist, if this method of investigation is appropriate, will prescribe the necessary projections for monitoring signal transmission failures in the structures of the nervous system, rather than its overall state.
Methods of treating logoneurosis in children
Modern medicine provides a comprehensive approach to overcoming stuttering in preschoolers and older children.
As indicated, a specialist may prescribe drugs to normalize the activity of the central and autonomic nervous system, as well as the articulatory apparatus.
This component of treatment involves eliminating psychogenic factors: logophobia, fixation on one’s problems, feelings of inferiority. The effectiveness of therapy is determined by the improvement of the child’s self-esteem, improvement of contact with peers and adults.
The effectiveness of treatment is achieved through working with a speech therapist-defectologist. Various techniques are used as part of therapy:
- The child develops speech through monologues or dialogues;
- Recording the child’s speech. After listening to the child’s speech, the specialist focuses on the defects, after which work is done on them.
- Slowing down the pace of speech. This technique helps improve the clarity of sounds and words.
The success of this type of therapy depends on the regularity of sessions with the child.
So, we have looked at the causes and treatment of stuttering in children. We strongly recommend not delaying in addressing the problem and seeking help from a specialist as soon as possible. Lost time can worsen the situation, and an existing defect can affect the child’s self-esteem.