Recent studies have estimated that over three million Americans stutter. In an effort to bring public attention to this speech disorder, The Stuttering Foundation of America conducts a yearly awareness campaign. This year, International Stuttering Awareness Day falls on October 22. In support of this campaign, today we’ll discuss some of the risk factors associated with stuttering.
An estimated 5% of children will experience a period of stuttering that lasts for six months or more. Of that 5%, approximately three-fourths will grow out of their stutter, leaving just over 1% of children who have a persistent speech disfluency. Professors at the University of Illinois have conducted research that follows children over time to determine which factors may be indicators that a child is less likely to outgrow their stuttering. Here are some of the findings:
-Family History: Nearly half of all children who stutter have a family member who stutters as well.
-Age of Onset: The earlier a child begins to stutter, the more likely it is that they will outgrow the disfluency. Children who begin to stutter before the age of three and a half are significantly more likely to outgrow the disfluency within six months.
-Gender: Girls are much more likely to outgrow a speech disfluency than boys. The ratio of boys to girls who stutter is roughly 3.5 to 1.
If your child does develop a disfluency, you should seek the services of a speech-language pathologist. A speech therapist can help your child develop techniques to speak more easily, as well as help your child develop a healthy attitude towards their speech and communication so that stuttering does not interfere with their social or emotional development.
Want to learn more? Visit http://www.stutteringhelp.org/ for more information on childhood speech disfluencies.
Are you concerned about your child’s speech or language development? At Speech Associates of New York, our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists provide in-home evaluations and therapy. Each of our professionals is trained in the assessment and treatment of a range of pediatric and adult speech, language and communication disorders. Call us today at (212)308-7725 and find out how we can help your child communicate their best!