No, I'm not referring to the Howard Stern Show personality. Today I'm here to talk about stuttering in young children. It's a very common occurrence in kids between the ages of 2 and 5. However, when it happens to your own child, or someone close to you, you start to get concerned.
A couple weeks before Christmas, seemingly out of the blue, Sawyer started stumbling over words that began with the "wh" sound. It started with with just the beginning of sentences and by the end of the weekend, it had progressed into not only the "wh" sound, but also nearly every word that started his sentences.
At first I was annoyed. I thought he was playing a joke and I wasn't going to tolerate it. Then I began trying to help him find the words. I'm sure there periods where I'd ignore him, but for the most part, I tried to be attentive to what I knew must be extremely frustrating for him.
Fast forward to the next week at his play school. Lucky for us, he goes to a speech and hearing center, not because he has issues with either, but because it's a great school with a great location for us. I mentioned the stuttering to his teacher and she reassured me this was common. She also advised me as their speech therapists had advised her. Her advice was basically to let it go. Don't try to finish his sentences or speak for him. Fail. Don't punish him or even acknowledge it. Fail. Make eye contact and just be patient with him as he searches for the words. At least I didn't totally fail here. She basically told me it was a phase and many children outgrow it within a few months.
As I began reading up on the issue, I found similar advice. Basically their little minds are being flooded with new thoughts, words, and phrases and it's just taking them a while to process it all. Makes perfect sense but part of me wondered why it him? Colin didn't have any issues but then I realized I was comparing my children and I know they are definitely NOT the same!
I'm happy to report that just about 6 weeks later, he's almost completely kicked the habit. He still pauses to find the words sometimes, but don't we all? It would be nice if we could install that feature on grown-ups, right?! I'm sure it will present itself again from time to time but I'm so thankful to have the guidance from his school as to how to handle it. Hopefully by addressing (or not addressing) it early, we were able to nip it in the bud.
There were a couple of times when he would get frustrated. One time he was in the car with Wes and he was stuttering all over himself. He finally paused and said, "Ah, never mind." Poor little guy!
I wanted to bring this to your attention should one of your loved ones, or a friend's loved ones experience a similar situation. Here are a few resources if you're interested in reading more.