When kids learn to talk, like anything any of us does, they don’t always get it right first time. This is entirely normal and a big part of the learning process. How do we know if we can do something unless we try? Learning how to do things is more often than not a case of trial and error. The lesson is to learn from your mistakes. But sometimes, it’s just not that simple!
It’s natural for your child to stumble over their words when they are learning to talk. They may stop and start and lose track of what the are saying. They may stammer and repeat parts of words, too. Their little minds are developing at breakneck speed! Your little one doesn’t yet have the vocabulary or the skills to express themselves accurately.
From when your child is two until they are about five, your infant may do all of these things. Add lots of umming and ah-ing into the mix and you might wonder if your little one’s speech is developing ok. It’s commonplace to have such concerns, and the chances are that things are perfectly fine. Children develop at different rates. It's not always a massive concern if your child isn’t talking with perfect elocution by the day the hit their fifth birthday!
However, about 1 in 20 children will stammer when they are trying to learn how to talk. For lots of kids, they’ll find it disappears by itself over time, and their speech improves. Others might consider speaking not so easy and may need help to overcome their problems.
It can be difficult to tell what is “normal” and what might point to a problem.
- Your child's speech pattern may sound “jerky” and stiff.
- When trying to speak, they may struggle to get any words out at all. It may take them a lot of effort.
- Often stops abruptly halfway through a sentence. And might just end the whole conversation right there.
- Repeats certain parts of words when trying to say them. (example: ted-ted-ted-ted-dy)
- Often stretches out some words when speaking (example: I want a drrrrrink)
If you have any concerns about your child's speech development, then the best thing to do is go and see your Doctor. Your GP can refer you to specialist services which deal with children's learning and talking. There are lots of ways in which they can help. Speech therapy can work wonders with a stammer. There are different exercises that can help most speech conditions. You may attend a special clinic, or there are even online speech therapy courses available. Children find these online lessons particularly engaging as they get to use the computer! Making learning fun is vital to helping a child progress.
Many parents feel that there is a shame or stigma attached if their child needs a little extra help with some things. If this sounds like you, then don’t be! It’s far more widespread than you would think. You haven’t failed your child if they have some problems with their speech, but you would be failing them if you didn’t do anything about it!
Stammering is something that can be overcome and usually goes by teenage years. If your child is having problems getting their words out, then book an appointment with your Doctor as soon as you can!