What Can Parents Do To Help?
Parent must pay a major role in helping to detect early hearing problems and in helping children to develop. Here are some of the things that you can do:
Check your child's ability to hear, and pay attention to ear problems and infections, especially when they keep occurring.
Reinforce your baby's communication attempts by looking at him or her, speaking, and imitating his or her vocalizations.
Repeat his or her laughter and facial expressions.
Teach your baby to imitate actions, such as peekaboo, clapping, blowing kisses, pat-a-cake, itsy bitsy spider, and waving bye-bye. These games teach turn taking that is needed for conversation.
Talk while you are doing things, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding (e.g., "Mommy is washing Sam's hair"; "Sam is eating carrots"; "Oh, these carrots are good!").
Talk about where you are going, what you will do once you get there, and who and what you'll see (e.g., "Sam is going to Granny's house. Granny has a dog. Sam will pet the dog.").
Talk about colors (e.g., "Sam's hat is red").
Practice counting. Count toes and fingers.
Count steps as you go up and down them.
Teach animal sounds (e.g., "A cow says 'moo'").
Some toys are so loud that they can cause hearing damage in children. When noisy toys are held directly to the ear, as children often do, they can actually expose the ear to a damaging dose of sound and can result in permanent hearing loss.
Do not give your young children noisy toys that can cause damamge to their hearing.
Stuttering is a form of dysfluency — an interruption in the flow of speech. In many cases, stuttering goes away on its own by age 5 and in others, it lasts longer.
There's no cure for stuttering, but effective treatments are available and you can help your child overcome it.
What Causes Stuttering?
Experts think that a variety of factors contribute to stuttering, including:
Genetics: About 60% of those who stutter have a close
family member who stutters.
Other speech and language problems or developmental
Differences in the brain's processing of language:
People who stutter process language in different areas of the brain. And there's a problem with the way the brain's messages interact with the muscles and body parts needed for speaking.
Early Signs of Stuttering
The first signs of stuttering tend to appear when a child is about 18-24 months old as there is a burst in vocabulary and children are starting to put words together to form sentences.
To parents, the stuttering may be upsetting and frustrating, but it is natural for kids to do some stuttering at this stage. It's important to be as patient with your child as possible.
A child may stutter for a few weeks or several months, and the stuttering may be sporadic. Most children who begin stuttering before the age of 5 stop without any need for interventions such as speech or language therapy.
However, if your child's stuttering is frequent, continues to get worse, and is accompanied by body or facial movements, an evaluation by a speech-language therapist around age 3 is a good idea.
Hearing, Speech and Language Help
Public Speech and Language Therapy services -
Child Development Centre, Tel 426-2577
Jemmotts Lane, St. Michael
Some useful international resources:
Sensory Processing Foundation (SPD Foundation)
Flint Sensory Learning Center