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Development of Stuttering

The earlier that stuttering is recognised and treated by a speech-language therapist the more effective that intervention will be. Parents or guardians who notice their child stuttering should seek advice from the Special Education Services (SES) as soon as possible. If you are an adult with a stutter, you are not alone. There is a support group, the New Zealand Speak Easy Association.

A person growing up with a stutter may feel discrimination, rejection, failure and ridicule. These fears can lead to a lack of self-esteem and less confidence. A person who stutters might appear shy, unintelligent or non-assertive. But none of these personality traits might be true.

For children who stutter, things they believe might make the problem worse. For example, they might believe or feel that speaking dysfluently:

  • Is shameful or wrong.
  • Makes him or her seriously different from others.
  • These beliefs may lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and humiliation.

There is no evidence of differences intellectually or emotionally between children who stutter and those who do not. It is vitally important that a child who stutters does not come to believe that stuttering is a reason to withdraw from interacting with other people. The goal of parents or teachers should be to help prevent negative emotions from becoming part of the child's stuttering experience. This means that even if the child does not speak fluently he or she can at least speak freely.