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Has been stammering for 6 month, is it permanent?

(24 Posts)
AnnamariaHun Fri 27-Apr-12 21:32:14

Hi everyone
Ds1 was a very early speaker and a lot more advanced than his friends at his age.
he started to stammer when ds2 was born, i am hungarian but my dh (british) and i thought we make sure his english is good before i teach him hungarian (wrongly)so we waited and so when ds2 was born (ds1 was 2) i decided to start teaching him and so i'd say a sentece in hungarian then follow it in english and as i can remember his stammer started just after this .
i quickly gave up on the hungarian and was hoping that the stammer would go away
his stammer was first like m-m-m-mummy, then it became like streching the words as mouuuuuuuuse and that's what's like now.
we had our first appointment with the speech therapist yesterday who said it's possible that me trying to teach him hungarian suddenly at 2 and also just had a sibling born, could have caused this.
she told me that i should have spoken to him hungarian only from when he was born and never switch to english and that i missed the chance of him being bilingual now (due to his age) and that i should stop any hungarian and don't expose him to any new stress right now and maybe later on if when this gets sorted i could possibly teach him hungarian (but only as a second language),
im very upset that i could have possibly caused this and that if i had this information when he was born , i may have been able to avoid this.
Anyway i know this is a lot of what ifs...

we have been given a lot of great advice and will go back again to see the speech therapist.
im just very woried now as it's been going on for longer than anyone i've read on here and also the speech therapist said that it's unusual for temporary stammerers to have this streching the word type of stammer it's more usual have the m-m-m-m-mummy kind of stammer

So was just wondering if anyone had similar experience or any suggestions or advice
thank you

lionheart Fri 27-Apr-12 21:37:17

Have you tried the Michael Palin centre (you can google it). This is where I was directed by a speech therapist. They have lots of advice/contacts and would be a great first port of call.

My son has the stretchy stammer that you describe.

laura4jasmine Sat 28-Apr-12 09:37:25

Hello, my ds2 was very late talking (no words at 2yo), when he started talking it was only the first half of words and then on to full words, he then started stammering pretty bad and doing that long word thing you mentioned. My speech therapist was great and never said I could have caused this (that was not helpful!). Anyway, ds2 has just turned 4 and only stammers now if he's very excited. I was told to pay attention when he talks so he doesn't feel he has to battle to be heard and just repeat what he has said before I answer so he hears what it's supposed to sound like without actually being corrected (hope that makes sense). Be patient and don't panic yet this may very well resolve.

AnnamariaHun Sun 29-Apr-12 13:50:29

ok thanks for your advice, yesterday someone asked him what his name was and he tried to say it and when he got stuck he just stopped and said mummy i don't know! im going to call up the speech therapist tomorrow and ask what we should do when this happens as im really not sure,
i said to him stop and try and say it slowly and quetly and he did manage to say it that way and have seen him since trying that when he gets stuck on a word but is that ok to do??

Janoschi Sun 29-Apr-12 23:21:00

My stammer started at 4. Not sure exactly what caused it - at 4 several traumatic things happened (baby sister was born, baby sister nearly died, I had a bad, untreated head injury and I started school).


As it was, they refused to believe I couldn't just stop it by myself (they are dangerously anti-medical, see untreated head injury!), and as a result I still stammer now.

Re the bilingual thing. I'm sure it's not too late for your son to be bilingual. My DP is bilingual (german/English) and only started German at 4. Now his german is his stronger language.

The therapist you saw seems extremely negative and frankly I would take her opinions with a big pinch of salt.

laura4jasmine Mon 30-Apr-12 06:38:36

I think you're doing great, patience is def a big part of this, he mustn't feel under pressure or like a failure. You being so encouraging and positive will really help. I found the best thing I could do was not make a fuss of the stammer or highlight it. Confidence is a wonderful thing, but I also agree your speech therapist sounds awful, hope you can find someone else.

AnnamariaHun Mon 30-Apr-12 13:16:42

thanks for your comments, i am trying very hard to stay calm with him , the more people i talk to the more say that this speech therapist sounded very harsh (and what's even worse is that after she told me all that uspetting things she also said that next time we come to see them, we'll be dealing with someone else as stammering is not her area!!! ) and so we deicded to go private just to get another opinion about this even if they say that he is too young to do any speech thearapy on now just.
so now just looking for a good place
can anyone recommend a good one in warwickshire?

maybetoday Mon 30-Apr-12 20:42:41

Hi. Sorry in advance for long post, but my little boy sounds very similar to yours, in that he spoke very early, and had a large vocab and was very chatty. He first started stammering aged about 27 months. At first it was the m-m-m-mummy. I asked him to slow down and it disappeared over the space of a week.
5 months later, when I was going back to work from mat leave after DC2, he started stammering again. First m-m-m-m-mummy, then elongating the first sounds mmmmmmmmmmmmmmummy. I looked at the British stammering website, which was really useful, though made me feel guilty as I realised I shouldn't have been asking him to slow down his speech as it was making him more aware of his stammering and instead I should have slowed down my own speech. So I tried to follow the advice on the website:
not asking questions (difficult when they've been at nursery all day!)
slowing my speech down
getting down to his level
only giving one instruction at a time - eg can you get your shoes, rather than can you get your shoes, put them on and bring me your bag.
10 weeks in and his stammering was getting worse. He was getting tense and trying to force the words out and he was getting increasing high pitched trying to get the words out. I found it so upsetting hearing my previous chatty son find it so difficult to speak. Especially when he started avoiding words, and saying "I don't know" because although he knew the answer he couldn't say it and referring to his sister as "that baby".
I got referred to speech and language therapy, but it took us 10 months to be seen by someone who specialised in stammering/dysfluency.
After 7 months of terrible stammering he suddenly started to get better. He would still stammer if he was tired or excited - DH coming home from work and asking too many questions was a trigger point, but over the next few months that got better too.
Because his stammer was soooo bad and so prolonged, he was still seen by speech and language therapy and followed up for about a year. The therapist who was him was great, she came and saw him at home and nursery and he got on really well with her. She said that they think that it sometimes happens in children whose mental language development develops faster than their articulation. This made me feel a bit less guilty about the whole mat leave thing.
We have now been discharged and he has not stammered for about 18 months.
Things that I think helped were taking the pressure off speech, so as few questions as possible. We had lots of tea-time conversations of "so, who wants to tell me about their day" and taking turns to speak. Also telling everyone else - nursery, grandparents to avoid asking questions. If we were out and someone sprung a question on him, I would just answer for him if he started getting stressed. The other thing was giving him my full attention when he was trying to speak - which I'd hope I was doing anyway, but probably wasn't always when I was holding a grumpy baby and trying to cook tea.
From a speech and language point of view, I think that when they are pre-school they really just work with you to give you pointers on how to speak to him and usually only start working with the child once they go to school.
Sorry for the length of post and hope it's been some help.

AnnamariaHun Mon 30-Apr-12 21:10:51

Hi maybetoday thank you very much for your post, it really made me feel so much better especially that i've been very upset about this whole thing and i just keep going around and around in circles in my head thinking about it all the time.
i've been reading on the internet about it and collecting some advice but something is still not very clear.
Should we say slow down or take a deep breath when he is in the middle of trying to say something and really struggling or just leave him to it and once he finished, just repeat the sentece he just said.
and what happens when i can't figure out what he is trying to say? shall i ask him to repeat it?
we never got to this conversation with the speech therapist as up until the weekend, he was not bothered by it so we agreed to not to say anything.

thanks again i really hope, your story can by mine one day smile

OzBrit Mon 30-Apr-12 21:15:25

AnnamariaHun - I am sorry that the SLT gave you such information & it is obvious that stammering is not her area! I hope you get better information from the new SLT
- Children around 2 often go through a period of dysfluency, this is quite normal. Is there any history of stammering on your or your husband's side of the family as often there is a high genetic link?
- Often if there is this pre-disposition, then changes in events (such as a new sibling) can bring it out, but it does not cause it.
- I have attached a link to the British Stammering Association for you which you might find helpful
- Here is the link to the Michael Palin Centre which may also be helpful

It is not too young to do therapy or for you to use strategies. Research shows the younger the better. to find a private SLT in your area - ideally you want one who has stammering experience/speciality

- Teaching your child hungarian at 2 is not too late. The research says that children have more success learning a new language before 8. That is what many of us struggle when we try to learn a new language when we are adults. It is worth speaking to the SLT about the bilingual issue and if they are not sure, ask them if there is a SLT they could recommend you speak with. The alternative is speaking with the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists for advice

I think it is great you are so proactive and wanting to get the right support for your child. I hope the above information helps - Lots of luck!

maybetoday Mon 30-Apr-12 22:11:08

It's really difficult, isn't it?
I tried not to say "slow down", because from what I read it seemed that it might not be helpful, and would just be replacing one form of dysfluency with another, but if he was getting really stuck, I would sometimes say "It's ok DS, take your time" to try to show that he had all of my attention and there wasn't any pressure to get his words out. Sometimes if he was totally stuck I'd ask "were you asking for a drink?" and try to repeat back what I thought he was trying to say.
OzBrit might have some better (more expert!) advice.
I hope it all goes well. You sound like a great mum. smile

OzBrit Tue 01-May-12 07:06:26

I had some crossed posts there
maybetoday has some good tips - reducing the pressure of talking is a good one. Limiting the number of questions can take the pressure off - using comments more and allowing your child time to respond and show that you are listening to them

It is not an easy time - good luck

AnnamariaHun Tue 01-May-12 13:16:23

Thanks both of you, i'll try the take your time suggestion.
OzBrit we haven't had any stammerer in the family before.
the most difficult bit for me is to make sure i spend enough(relaxed time) with him as his brother is 6 month old and equaly i don't want to dump him somewhere all the time but i do understand the he needs me a bit more now...
im going to use all this new technics and see how he is in a couple of month and if there is no change, we'll invest into a private speech therapist
By the way does anyone know what happens at the speech therapist (nhs or private) at 2.5, i mean do they have speech thearapy or is that too young to do speech therapy?

OzBrit Tue 01-May-12 16:02:43

It depends on which stammering approach they take as to whether they will give "therapy" or whether it is advice and modelling to yourself and then review appointments. You would have to check with the SLT (nhs & private). My thoughts are that private SLTs may offer some therapy and nhs may not have the capacity to do this. Often SLT depts prioritise children who stammer - it is worth asking.

I know how hard it is with a 2 1/2 year old and a baby....have been there myself. It is a balancing act... you sound like you are doing a great job though.

Janoschi Tue 01-May-12 22:20:21

Something that MIGHT help is a fiddle toy. Something your son can squidge and fiddle with while talking. I can say it's one thing that really helps me - sort of destresses a situation.

Can you get him something to keep in his pocket, that he could reach for and squeeze when talking gets difficult?

Janoschi Tue 01-May-12 22:30:17

this sort of thing

I find that if I start stammering, I end up concentrating on not doing it, which increases the stress, which makes it worse... Other people acknowledging it makes it much worse for me - I prefer it to be ignored. Though it's nice if someone casually offers the word I'm stuck on, just so I can get past it and move on. Being told to slow down makes me worse, as it shows others have noticed and I desperately don't want my stammer noticed!

The fiddle thing helps me because part of the brain is engaged elsewhere, so I don't tend to get stuck in the loop. Other things that help are talking while listening to music on headphones, talking via the dog (stroking and looking at the dog while talking to someone)... Distraction from the talking, by finding something relaxing to do alongside.

Just an idea.

AnnamariaHun Wed 02-May-12 13:39:20

Thanks for the advice Janoschi. i am really afraid of doing or saying much to him as im worried that something would make it worse.... (e g giving him something to fiddle with ) as i would have to explain why im giving him it.
i wish i had someone to tell me what and how to do and reassure me that i won't make it worse (i know it's not going to happen)
OzBrit i've been in touch with a private Speech therapist who said that at this age she would work through video feedback with the parents and indirectly with the child advising and modelling fluency strategies. so thanks for the suggestions, this helped us decide that we'd not go and fork out a lot of money just yet but wait a bit longer and see what happens....

Janoschi Wed 02-May-12 23:25:16

Yes, I understand about not wanting to explain why you're giving him something. Have you noticed if he's better at talking while occupied with something else? Ie, while playing with his toys, or having a bath?

I'm sure you won't make it worse, and I personally think you're wonderful for supporting him so well.

AnnamariaHun Thu 03-May-12 13:40:16

thanks Janoschi, im trying
he is a very aticulate boy and he also demands a lot of attention so most of the time he talks, he is looking at me at the same time so most of the stammer happens while he is looking at me, i started to look down sometimes but not sure if doesn't take it as mummy is not listening but i haven't figured out really if it does or doesn't help when looking at him.
i told him a few days ago to try and slow down and say it a bit more quietly (which im not sure was a good idea) and so now whe he gets stuck, he stops and starts to say it more and more queitly until it comes out which it does most of the time (even if you can't hear it by the end as he is whisperingsmile) he is very cute when he does that tho. not sure if that technice is ok tho?
So i take it Janoschi, you've had stammer for a while then? just so i understand a bit more about it, are there certain words that always difficult to say or do they only get difficult sometimes?
Also does anyone know if stammer can be cured or the ones that disappear were always going to be temporary anyway?

Janoschi Fri 04-May-12 09:34:24

I've had one for 30 years but the time where it caused mist problems for me was from 4-5 to 18. I didn't stammer all the time and rarely do now, as I know how to handle it better and have a wider vocabulary so I can change problem words. Names are sometimes hard to say because there's no way of changing it, so maybe you could find a nickname for the baby that starts with an easier letter so he can use that if he's having trouble?

I think your DS will get through this because you seem so supportive. Stammering is affected by stress and my early life was full of violence and dominated by a mentally ill mother so I think my stammer deteriorated under these conditions!

AnnamariaHun Fri 04-May-12 13:02:30

im sorry to hear you didn't have a very happy childhood...
Unfortunately i do get stressed very often due to ds2 health issues and now ds1 stammer. im trying really hard to try and controll it and not to lose it in front of them but i find it very hard. dh tries to help but as he is not here most of the time, i don't think he understand how difficult it is.
i have thought about maybe going to the gp and ask if i talk to someone who could help me learn how to work through the stressful times as i really don't want them to think back when they are older that mummy was always stressed out....
anyway thanks for all your advice and i will carry on and hopefully he grows out it

thanks again

Janoschi Fri 04-May-12 15:00:37

I'm sure you're doing wonderfully! It's possible that DS is picking up a bit on your stress but I understand a lot of toddlers develop a stammer naturally which then just fades away on it's own... My stammer started when I was 4, so I was older than your DS. It was probably caused medically (I had a head injury at that age) then exacerbated by the arrival of a new sister, new sister nearly dying and me starting school... Then I had a stressful family life too, and I was told that twins are more likely to develop a stammer due to sharing oxygen in the womb (I'm a twin). And it can be genetic and my grandfather stammered. So odds were stacked against me, I think! But even with that, most people I know don't know I have a problem now.

It sounds a much simpler situation for your DS and it's really very likely it'll fade away naturally without much worry. As I suggested earlier (so apologies for doubling up info!), maybe make his life a little easier by giving DS2 a nickname DS1 can say, and perhaps the same for you (if he struggles with mummy, could he try mama?).... Just little things to keep things relaxed for you all.

Could be an idea to also give DS a few more words for important things, ie 'cold' could also be 'chilly' or 'freezing'?

And it might be an idea to suggest he tries a run up to words he can't say. If he tries to say 'Can I come shopping with you?" and he gets stuck on 'shopping', maybe go back a few words and try again, ie 'come shopping', rather than just 'shopping'. If that doesn't work, how about 'come to the shops'? It's hard early on but he'll soon build up enough words to happily skip past a problem and eventually there might not even be a problem.

Just things to try while you wait for the speech therapist. PM if you like.

You honestly sound such a caring mother.

AnnamariaHun Fri 04-May-12 19:43:24

Thanks very much Janoschi, it must have been hard for you but im sure it has helped to make you the great person you are now!
Ds1 has already invented new words for his brother which is "my brother" smile
thanks for that idea about when he gets stuck make him maybe repeat with the previous word as my dh has been doing that with him and it seems to have worked so far...
i spoke to the speech therapist yesterday and she made me feel a lot more at ease about the whole thing so hopefully things will get better from here.

I'll let you know how we get on and thanks again for all the encouraging advice x

workingonitagain Sun 26-Jul-15 10:37:38

Fast forward 3 years (changed my name) ds has just finished reception and we have just moved and he is back to full blown stammering. He can barely get the words out. He gets upset. I tell him that some words are tricky but he says they are not and he is only trying to say his brothers name!
He is still very advanced for his age and always talks very fast. Has lots of ideas and always planning his next mission!
I know it could be the move, or the fact that he is upset about leaving reception as he had such a lovely year and enjoyed it and loved his teacher very much! I haven't talked to him changing school much but he knows he will start yr1 at old school still and there will be a different teacher etc. Any advice on how to deal with stammering at this age?

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