Fluency disorder is a more general term for stuttering, i.e. pronounced interruptions during speaking, as well as hasty speech (takhilalia).
Symptoms of stuttering, such as repeating words, occur in children around 3 years of age and are usually not a sign of the disease. This phenomenon is called physiological stuttering, i.e. lack of fluency of speech during the period of speech development. In most cases, this type of stuttering disappears after a few months, when one phase of development passes into another. The ability to accurately determine that the resulting stuttering will pass over time is currently not available.
The exact causes of stuttering are not fully known. It is believed that the cause of stuttering is not one, but several simultaneously present factors.
Stimulation of natural speech development and early recognition of speech disorders are also important for the prevention of stuttering. When fluency disorders appear, the style of communication is very important. The child should be allowed to speak and be given advance notice of when they will be spoken to (for example, by making eye contact or turning the child towards the speaker). Parents' strong concern or uncertainty about symptoms can also be perceived by children with stuttering. That is why it is necessary to examine the child as early as possible and consult a specialist.
Stuttering can take many forms:
- it can be expressed in the repetition of words and syllables (clonic/convulsive stuttering)
- or in blocks and stretches (tonic stuttering).
Mixed forms are also not uncommon. Severe stuttering is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as accompanying movements of the face, body, or limbs.
In turn, rapid speech or hasty speech with the omission of parts of words is denoted by the term takhilalia.
Since the causes of stuttering can be varied, the diagnosis covers several areas of the problem of speaking and speech development. The accompanying examinations are prescribed individually according to age.
Treatment of stuttering and hasty speech occurs according to an individually selected plan and is carried out by speech therapists. In the case of other disorders, speech or developmental disorders, these also become the object of treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, the child does not need to be protected from stuttering and symptoms should not be ignored during therapy. Work on stuttering in children is successfully carried out by speech therapists and is now commonplace. In addition, consultation with the parents or the person responsible for the child is an important part of the therapeutic concept.