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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

The cause of stammer is unknown, but nothing is wrong with the child. With far the most children, stammer disappears in the course of a couple of years. It is important that parents and the day care know how to handle stammer.

In the age of 2 to 5 years some children go through a period of stammer. This is true for approximately 5 % of all children. With far most of the children the stammer disappears in the course of 1 to 2 years.

Stammer can appear suddenly or little by little. Most children stammer rather lightly and their speech is fluent. Other children have difficulty speaking because of stammer. Usually the child only stammers for certain periods. Time may pass without the stammer and then it may return. With most children, the stammer is worsened if the child is eager or tired.

With most children stammer disappears by itself. However, some children keep stammering. It is not possibly to determine beforehand which children continue stammering and with whom it only last some time.

Stammer can sound like this: “the do do do doll doesn’t wwwwant to play” or “the c c c car is br br br broken”. The child has difficulty finding the words and can come to a halt. Some children react by stamping the floor or yelling the words. Other children become sad and simply walk away.

The cause of stammer is unknown, but nothing is wrong with the child. There are no indications that children who stammer are more uncomfortable or nervous than other children. Children who stammer are no different from other children except for the stammer.

Parents may not know how to handle stammer and have perhaps been given the advice of waiting and letting time pass. This advice, however, is no good if the parents are insecure. A doctor or the day care is able to refer you to a speech therapist.

The speech therapist can inform you of your child’s stammer and advise you on how you and the child’s surroundings should handle the stammer. Meanwhile the speech therapist will teach your child a better way of talking and stammering. An early effort with a speech therapist may prelude an unfortunate development of stammer.

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What can you do?

It is important that the child’s surroundings and the day care learn how to handle stammer correctly. The parents can take certain measures to help a stammering child. Here is some good advice:

  • Give the child time to find the words
  • Show interest for what the child is talking about and not the stammer itself
  • Do not correct, interrupt or say the wordslet the child tell about its experiences itself
  • Do not ask questions but talk about what you have experienced – this will most likely lead to the child beginning to tell about its own experiences
  • Keep eye contactdo not be afraid of talking with the child about stammer
  • You may say: “I can hear that it is difficult for you to talk right now”.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

When you child’s stammer makes you insecure and worried. If the child still stammer after one year. If the child refuses to talk because it stammers.

You may also contact the day care.