Stuttering In Language Development Essay Samples
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Origin of Stuttering
Stuttering is the involuntary repetition of certain sounds while an individual is trying to say a certain word or words (Bloodstein, 2006). It often serves to block the individual from speaking a word or phrase, and can sometimes lead to the impairment of communication (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013). For many children, the development of a stutter occurs around the time when the child starts producing language; however, there are no known developmental triggers for stuttering.
The development of stuttering in an individual is still very mysterious, and researchers are unsure what causes stuttering in children (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013). However, some scientists have suggested that there is a genetic component to stuttering, because children who have parents or other close relatives who stutter are much more likely to present with the problem (Bloodstein, 2006). It is unclear whether this presentation is due to genetic causes, environmental causes, or some combination of the two (Bloodstein, 2006).
Children who have developed a stutter may go through phases where their stuttering worsens or gets better, but speech therapy is the only known treatment for stuttering (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013). In some cases, some other developmental or congenital disorder may be comorbid with the stutter, and the individual may have physiological problems that contribute to the development of stuttering speech (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013).
Evolution of Stuttering During Language Development
Generally, children begin to stutter around the same time when they begin to use speech readily; the average time for the onset of stuttering in most children is age 29-31 months (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013). This does not mean that some children do not begin stuttering earlier or later; however, developmentally, this seems to be the most common time for children to develop stuttering as a speech pattern (Nippold, 2012).
Stuttering can cause a number of adverse effects in childhood, most notably emotionally adverse effects (Silverman &Williams, 1968). This is because children can be quite cruel to other children with stuttering problems; however, research has demonstrated that children with stuttering problems do not necessarily have any kind of developmental issues outside of their stuttering problem.
Watts et al. (2015) determined that children with a history of stuttering do not necessarily have developmental issues outside their speech problems. Watts et al. (2015) write, “The stuttering group scored higher than the non-stuttering group on all of the communication and language outcomes measuredImportantly, the children with a history of stuttering, as a group, and the control group without a history of stuttering demonstrated developmentally-appropriate early communication and language skills” (Watts et al., 2015). Outside of the difficulties that are associated with speaking with a stutter, children who presented with a stutter did not demonstrate any other problems with language development; in fact, they presented in a completely normal, average manner, in the same way as children who did not present with a stuttering problem (Watts et al., 2015). Indeed, the stuttering group sometimes scored higher than the group that did not stutter, indicating that stuttering is not indicative of a larger developmental disability for children.
Peculiarities/Unusual Traits in Stuttering During Language Development
Some research has been done into brain development and investigation into brain use in child stuttering cases (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013). Bloodstein (2006) suggests that children who present with a stutter may be experiencing difficulties with brain lateralization, meaning that children who present with a stutter may be having problems with the communication between the left and right sides of their brains (Bloodstein, 2006). This does not necessarily lead to abnormality in development, but it does have the potential to lead to lack of fluency in speech, as is demonstrated by stuttering behavior in these children (Bloodstein, 2006).
In addition, if stuttering is not corrected and speech therapy is not given to children who present with a stutter, there may be lifelong effects on the brain. People are born to speak, but it is still a learned process; people who stutter are teaching their brain a specific way to speak and to communicate, and this rewires the brain in very real ways (Nippold, 2012). Note that the rewiring of the brain is not linked to any developmental disorders or any kind of cognitive problems over time—instead, this brain rewiring is just another way for the human brain to develop new strategies for functioning normally in a plethora of different situations (Nippold, 2012). The brain is very elastic, and children’s brains are particularly elastic; as a result, children who grow up with a stutter often develop a number of fail-safes in their brain that are designed to allow them to communicate normally and at an age-appropriate level (Nippold, 2012).
Some children may become developmentally depressed as a result of their stuttering, but this is commonly associated with psychological issues and trauma stemming from teasing and misunderstanding from the child’s peer group or even the adults and guardians in a child’s life (“Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study,” 2013).
The reasons for the development of a stutter in children are unknown. Scientists believe that children may develop a stutter for a number of reasons, and there is even evidence to suggest that some of the reason for the development of a stutter is genetic, although this has yet to be verified. Despite the stigma commonly attached to stuttering in children, there is no evidence to suggest that children who have a stutter have any kind of developmental issues or slow learning processes as a result of their stutter; instead, children who have a stutter have even shown better language capabilities than their peers in some studies.
There may be physiological reasons for the development of a stutter in certain individuals, but the development of a stutter in young children is something that seems to be a combination of a variety of different issues and problems. However, the prognosis is good for children who develop a stutter young and receive assistance for their stutter; these children may never have a problem with stuttering later in life if their problem is corrected early enough with speech therapy. As it stands today, speech therapy is the only known solution for the problem of stuttering in children and adults alike.
Bloodstein, O. (2006). Some empirical observations about early stuttering: A possible link to language development. Journal Of Communication Disorders, 39(3), 185-191. doi:10.1016/j.jcomdis.2005.11.007
Natural History of Stuttering to 4 Years of Age: A Prospective Community-Based Study. (2013).PEDIATRICS, 132(3), X7-X7. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-3067d
Nippold, M. (2012). Stuttering and Language Ability in Children: Questioning the Connection. American Journal Of Speech-Language Pathology, 21(3), 183-196. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0078)
Silverman, E., & Williams, D. (1968). A comparison of stuttering and nonstuttering children in terms of five measures of oral language development. Journal Of Communication Disorders, 1(4), 305-309. doi:10.1016/0021-9924(68)90003-8
Watts, A., Eadie, P., Block, S., Mensah, F., & Reilly, S. (2015). Language ability of children with and without a history of stuttering: A longitudinal cohort study. International Journal Of Speech-Language Pathology, 17(1), 86-95. doi:10.3109/17549507.2014.923512
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