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Does Your Child Have Disrupted Fluency?

As a parent, you’re keenly aware of developmental milestones your child has met. Lately, maybe you’re noticing something doesn’t seem quite right when he talks as you compare his speech to that of other children his age. Their speech is like yours: a smooth flow of words you can easily understand. Your child’s speech is disjointed. You thought he would grow out of these speech differences, but he hasn’t. 

Your child may have a speech fluency disorder. Our trained speech therapists at Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy work with children every day who have disrupted fluency. Working individually with your child as well as in small group settings at our two Charlotte, North Carolina, offices, our therapists use research-based speech therapy practices to increase your child’s ability to communicate with others successfully. 

The earlier your child receives professional help for a fluency disorder, the better chance he has of normal friendships and interactions in childhood and throughout his life. If the disorder isn’t corrected, he may be bullied in school, develop low-self-esteem, and find it difficult to make a friend. Speech fluency disorders can have psychological and emotional consequences.

What is disrupted fluency? 

Normal speech has a smooth flow. You complete a sentence using all of the syllables in the words and don’t skip any. You don’t stumble over words or repeat syllables frequently before proceeding with the entire words. Your speech is easily understandable to others. 

If your child is diagnosed with a fluency disorder, his speech may be characterized by stuttering or another similar disorder called cluttering. 

Stuttering 

If your child stutters, he may not be able to get some of his words out without repeating a syllable several times, as in “the little ba-ba-baby is crying.” He may also not be able to get past an initial sound at the beginning of a word: “Wwwwwwe want to go play.” Sometimes he may simply stop in the middle of a sentence and not be able to go further for a period of time. 

Your child may tighten his fists until his knuckles are white when he tries to talk, blink his eyes rapidly, or jerk his head. He’s visibly stressed. When these things happen and he’s with other children, they may start playing with someone else, leaving him out. 

Cluttering 

Cluttering is a similar fluency disorder. Your child may start a sentence, talking very fast, but the words merge together and he loses some of the syllables and word endings, as in “I wagooutsiplay” for “I want to go outside and play.” You may know what he’s saying when he merges words together, but other children do not. On the other hand, he may pause in the middle of a sentence where there’s normally not a pause, or he may start sentences but then stop and start over frequently so that the listener loses track of what he’s saying. 

Treatment for fluency disorders

Our therapists make speech therapy a fun, engaging activity that your child looks forward to. We use both fluency shaping and stuttering modification strategies if your child stutters. Stuttering modification helps your child become more relaxed when he speaks and teaches him to self-monitor his speech. In fluency shaping, we work with your child to practice making  specific individual sounds fluently, followed by words, and finally sentences. 

Cluttering strategies include slowing your child’s speech down. The therapist may record herself saying what your child has said. The recording is used as a model for your child’s speech. 

Call or send a message to Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy for a private consultation about your child’s speech. We help your child develop to his fullest potential. 

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