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Stuttering - but only during school term?

(5 Posts)
pinkymo Tue 02-Sep-08 22:42:43

I'm at a loss with my 3year old DS1. She started nursery in January and within a couple of weeks had developed a really bad stutter.She's been seen by the speech therapist who says that she is very advanced in her vocabulary and understanding and that this can cause disfluency. We've been happy with that analysis and seen the condition have peaks and troughs. The strange thing is that she has perfect speech during the school holidays. We noticed it when we were away for two weeks during May, great when we were away but as soon as she went back to nursery, the stutter returned. She returned to nursery two weeks ago (we live in Scotland), and again perfect speech over the 6 week break and now we see it coming back again.
She is really happy at nursery, is confident and has no apparent problems there. The teachers say she has lots of friends and is really sociable.
I was so happy over the summer break when her normal speech returned but can't believe how down hill she is heading yet again. I'm really worried that this will dog her school years and she may face bullying. It's all so odd - has anyone any ideas?...please..

HonoriaGlossop Tue 02-Sep-08 22:57:50

Do you have a contact number for the speech therapist? I think, having seen her before, they would surely be interested that you have been able to identify so clearly this pattern...I think it warrants another appointment!

Perhaps the Speech therapist will have seen this before and have some suggestions as to why it happens and I hope they'll be able to re-assure you about whether it's likely to be long term etc.

It's so interesting isn't it...it's tempting to come over all amateur psychologist and try to think of reasons (stress response? higher level of stimulation at nursery leading to this disfluency?) but of course I'm just an old bint off the internet, I think you need to see the Speech Therapist again grin

pinkymo Tue 02-Sep-08 23:07:31

Thanks for this. The speech therapist is actually due to call me next week as a follow up.It's something I requested at the last appointment because although DS1 was absolutely fine at that time (it was in the holidays) and she wanted to sign her of their books, I wasn't happy to do that until she went back to nursery because this pattern had happened before.
You are right, it is easy to start jumping to answers, and would be even easier if she was a shy child feeling overwhelmed. But she isn't. At the last appointment I had with the ST, she said it could be subconscious attention seeking.

Elsapelle Tue 02-Sep-08 23:27:24

Hi Pinkymo, yes, have a chat with your SLT. I'm an SLT who works with preschoolers and the pattern you describe is not unusual, if it's any consolation! Sometimes a child's dysfluency seems linked to an increase in the 'demands' a little one may experience from their environment. In your daughter's case, especially as she is obviously bright and has lots of thoughts and ideas, it may be that her speech is more dysfluent in nursery as it is a much busier environment. There'll be lots of competition from other children, lots of things to look at and play with and explore, and sometimes it seems that children can have so many things they're thinking about and want to talk about, that it's like their little minds are going too fast for all the intricate motor movements involved in speech and articulation to keep up! It makes sense to me that she may be more fluent at home cos she has more 1:1 attention, is more familiar with her surroundings and her relationship with you. and can perhaps dictate the pace she does things more. Episodes of dysfluency can be linked to tiredness, feeling a bit poorly, a major change in routine (eg a new baby, starting at a new setting etc).
I'd recommend asking the SLT for some info sheets or similar to pass on to nursery staff so they're all consistent in how they're dealing with the episodes of non-fluency.
Make a list of all the questions you want to ask the SLT - look at the Britsih stammering association website too for some more tips! Good luck!

pinkymo Tue 02-Sep-08 23:43:30

Elsapelle, thanks that is reassuring and I will speak to the speech therapist next week.
I'm not sure whether I made it clear that her dysfluency is not just whilst at nursery itself but also when she comes home during the school term. So we will have 6 weeks of stammering both at nursery and at home, then no stammering at all during the school hols. It completely falls in with the school timetable. Is that the sort of pattern you have seen and does it go away? It worries me to see her struggle and to avoid certain words becasue she knows she can't say them.

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