Stuttering can affect children of all ages and most commonly develops before the age of five. Stuttering can develop unexpectedly and can be quite severe from the onset. Stuttering occurs as language develops and is a physical problem that can have genetic components.
Children who stutter will exhibit at least one of the following stuttering behaviours:
- Repetitions: sounds at the start of words or whole words are repeated (‘I-I-I’, ‘c-c-can’, ‘want-want-want’)
- Prolongations: a sound is held on to and prolonged (‘soooo’ or ‘ssssso’)
- Blocks: the sound is unable to be released due to a block of air and no sound can be made
Sometimes children can exhibit secondary stuttering behaviours such as head nods, muscle tightness or twitches when they are stuttering, and they can be seen using avoidance strategies such as changing the word they were going to say to or giving up talking if they are going to stutter.
Many children who stutter will recover spontaneously without intervention, but it is not possible to predict which children will recover and which will have a long-lasting stutter. Stutters can have an impact on a child socially and emotionally. Early intervention with stuttering is essential if the stutter is not showing immediate signs of improvement as it can be more difficult to treat in later years.
The Lidcombe Program is an evidence-based approach for targeting stuttering in pre-schoolers and early school age children. Early intervention is very important in stuttering.
The Lidcombe program is an evidence-based approach for the treatment of stuttering in pre-schoolers and children in the early school years. The aim of the program is to eliminate the stutter or significantly reduce the stutter.
The Lidcombe program requires the parent and child to attend regular speech pathology sessions to be trained in providing the Lidcombe Program at home. The program requires dedicated commitment from the parents to work with their child for 10-15 minutes every day at home. Together with the Speech Pathologist the parent learns to rate their child’s stutters daily and to provide tailored activities that enable the child to be smooth. Controlled comments (verbal contingencies) are then used to reinforce the smooth talking and transfer this to everyday talking.
By working on the stutter directly, and by doing therapy regularly in the home environment, your child’s stutter is more likely to be managed in settings outside the clinic.
The Lidcombe program is very effective when carried out as prescribed.
If you live in Adelaide and have any concerns about your child and stuttering or would like more information about the Lidcombe Program please call us to discuss the best step for your child.