Stuttering in a child

Neurotic stuttering in children – causes of occurrence

Neurotic stuttering in children is a form of speech impairment with a change of rhythm, with stuttering and repetition. The cause of the pathology is a psychologically traumatic situation. Another name is logoneurosis. To eliminate the ailment requires a comprehensive approach with the involvement of a psychologist, psychotherapist. In this article, we will tell you what symptoms accompany the disease, and how to prevent the progression of the disease.

What is a neurotic stuttering

Neurotic stuttering develops due to tonic-clonic and tonic spasms of the articulatory muscles. There is a spasm of muscles that are involved in the conversation: the tongue, larynx, soft palate.

The provoking factor is the stress, the psychological trauma in childhood. It usually occurs in 4 – 5 years, when children begin to actively talk. However, it can also develop at an earlier or older age.

The most frequent causes of neurotic stuttering are the following situations:

  • Chronic stress – conflict in the family or with peers;
  • A physical illness and the complexes associated with it;
  • Lack of understanding with parents, the practice of physical punishment from their side;
  • acute mental trauma – anger, fright, fear, stress.

Another reason is heredity. These children from birth have a functional deficiency of the speech apparatus, which eventually leads to stuttering. Therefore, you can not let your guard down: do not allow emotional stress, stress. Education and communication should be based on full control of the parents’ emotions: do not snapping at your baby, do not yell at him or berate him. Try to find compromises and solve problems with care and love.

In some families, parents tend to force the child’s development, including speech. The child is constantly engaged, increased demands that do not take into account individual differences. Load it with reading, making him learn difficult words, poems. Obviously, it is an unbearable burden on the physical and mental relationship. Sooner or later, this reason leads to a breakdown, tantrums, including speech disorders.

If there is already a stutterer in the family, the baby may imitate him.

Symptoms of neurotic stuttering in children

The neurotic form of stuttering in children is characterized by an unstable clinical picture. In a calm environment, speech is almost normal, without difficulty. When agitated, emotionally disturbed, or in an unusual situation, the child develops a strong stutter. For example, these children have trouble answering in class, to meet people.

Gradually the speech difficulties affect behavior and character. The child does not consciously use words that are difficult to pronounce, masks his defect by stretching out the sounds. He avoids unfamiliar company, avoids exciting situations: public speaking, arguments. Preschoolers refuse to participate in holidays, matinees.

Later, this leaves a lifelong imprint and leads to huge complexes, the inability to join a group, to talk to people. That’s why it is necessary to apply to specialists in time and to carry out the correction of stuttering.

The first signs of the disease

In acute psychological trauma, stuttering occurs as a neurotic reaction when the baby goes through a state of shock.

Chronic stress leads to a gradual increase in symptoms. At first, there are episodes of difficult speech, which later either go away or become fixed.

The neurotic stuttering consists in interrupted speech or lengthening of sounds (the tonic form), repetitions of sounds, syllables or words (the clonic form). There is also a mixed type.

Neurotic stuttering in children is accompanied by other signs of neurological problems: sleep disorders, phobias, incontinence, neurosis.


Diagnosis is made after a complete examination of the child with the participation of a speech therapist and neurologist. If necessary, other specialists are involved: a speech pathologist, psychologist, psychotherapist.

The following diagnostic stages are outlined:

  1. Determination of the tempo, rhythm and fluency of speech, the presence of deviations of these indicators;
  2. Identification of a traumatic situation;
  3. Exclusion of another form of stuttering – neurosis-like, which occurs after craniocerebral trauma and other lesions of the central nervous system, accompanied by personality changes.

To clarify the diagnosis, EEG, EEG, MRI or CT scanning is performed. Hardware diagnostic methods allow you to identify structural or functional changes in the central nervous system, if any, exclude or confirm the problems of neurology.

How to treat

Treatment is conducted in conjunction with a psychologist, neurologist and speech therapist.

A mandatory component of therapy is classes with a speech therapist. The specialist selects an individual scheme of correction of stuttering. Firstly, it is necessary to eliminate the old speech stereotype: quick interrupted speech, repetition of words and syllables. The speech therapist teaches the child to relax in order to form a smooth speech skill. This creates a new speech stereotype. Later, it is reinforced by exercises with the repetition of sounds, syllables, words, sentences, and whole texts.

If the cause is a chronic traumatic situation – it is necessary to eliminate it. A psychologist or psychotherapist is involved with the child. Sessions of psychotherapy, psychocorrection, art therapy, music therapy are conducted. These methods help to relax and change the young patient’s attitude toward his condition. They are also a preventive measure against secondary speech disorders.

A speech therapist teaches your child to relax in order to form a smooth speech skill.

It is important to motivate your child so that he has a desire to practice. This way he will try harder.

When the cause of the neurotic form of stuttering in children are conflicts in the family, family counseling and therapy is indicated for all family members. Relatives need to develop the skill of self-control, because for the recovery of the child needs a supportive and calm home environment. People around them also need to watch their speech: it should be clear, calm, with a friendly tone.

Parents need to understand that treatment is not limited to the office speech therapy. At home, too, you need to work with your child. At the same time it is necessary to take into account the emotional state of the baby.

Problems in terms of neurology are solved with medications: sedatives, nootropics, vitamin complexes. The doctor may prescribe physical therapy, massage, reflexology.

In complicated cases, hypnotherapy is indicated.

Exercises for neurotic stuttering

The number of exercises and their duration depend on the age of the child and the severity of the pathology. Usually a session lasts 15 to 20 minutes.

The complex begins with a warm-up – breathing exercises to increase the volume of exhaled air so that the baby can build up long phrases:

  1. The baby lies on his back and imitates the sea with his stomach – he breathes in through his nose, inflates his tummy, and exhales through a tube. The exercise should be done three times;
  2. The child blows on the water in the cup through the tube, imitating a storm, scuba diver or boiling water;
  3. Ships are launched into the basin with water – made of paper, or any toys can play the role of ships. It is necessary to blow on the ships so that they swim to the other side of the basin.

Exercises can be supplemented with the pronunciation of words or sentences. You say the words and ask your baby to do the same. Speak slowly and keep the rhythm.

The next exercise is “echo. You say the word, and the child repeats it after you.

Useful for the development of speech guessing riddles, making oral stories from a picture, learning songs. By the way, the singing allows you to achieve a smooth pronunciation. It is recommended that it be used in everyday life. For example, a word seems to you a difficult pronunciation. Try singing it: the singing relieves the spasm and you will notice that you can easily pronounce the word.

Have a positive effect drawing, sculpting, weaving, origami. It is known that fine motor skills are associated with speech. Even healthy kids are recommended these activities. And for children with a neurotic stutter, they can help improve coordination and articulation.

Stuttering prevention

Proper tactics on the part of parents can prevent the progression of stuttering and prevent its reoccurrence.

The following measures are effective:

  • refusal of strict educational methods, especially – physical punishment;
  • work on the relationship with the child – they should be trusting and respectful, the baby should know that he will always be understood and accepted;
  • limiting the time he or she uses gadgets, computers, watching TV;
  • a ban on violent and aggressive computer games;
  • refusal to force reading, memorizing poems – these activities are beneficial if the child does them with a desire;
  • refraining from public speaking at matinees, in front of the team at the kindergarten or school;
  • If a child gets worried and stammers, distract him, ask him to bring something, offer him a piece of fruit;
  • Limit products that excite the nervous system – chocolate, cocoa, tea, especially in the evening.

The main thing in your situation – calm inside and outside. Let the baby knows that his mother is near, that she loves him and cares for him. He needs to feel your confidence and faith in him. So he will be more relaxed and more willing to do all the tasks, and this is exactly what we need.

Do not dwell on his condition, do not take him to the doctors endlessly. It will be better for the child to grow up in a relaxed atmosphere of trust, love and care. Focus your attention and your baby’s attention on the successes and achievements. In such conditions, you will quickly and easily defeat a neurotic stutter, and your baby will please you with a correct speech without any signs of stuttering.

What is the cause of stuttering in children

Stuttering is a disorder of the rhythm, tempo and fluency of speech. The disease often develops in childhood, between the ages of 2 and 6 years, affecting about 3% of the children in the world. Boys suffer from stuttering four times more often than girls.

The term has several synonyms: logoneurosis, logoclonia, laloneurosis. There is evidence to support the presence of the disorder in the Egyptian pharaohs, the prophet Moses, and the philosopher Demosthenes. King Batt of Persia also suffered from logoneurosis, causing the defect to be called Battarism, among other things.

Mechanism of occurrence

Stuttering in children starts at an early age for a reason. During this period, babies undergo active development of phrasal speech, which becomes particularly vulnerable as an immature formation.

The mechanism for the development of logoclonia begins with increased arousal of the speech centers in the brain, the most important of which is the Broca center. The center is located in the frontal gyrus of the left hemisphere and is responsible for motor speech activity.

A change in the tone of the speech centers results in a disruption of nerve impulse transmission, affecting the zone of verbal reproduction. A patient begins to stutter when the muscles of the larynx, tongue, lips, and pharynx cramp up. The work of the speech apparatus becomes disorganized: some elements are triggered earlier and others later than they should. The vocal cords are in hypertension, which makes them too tightly compressed, or, conversely, remain in a relaxed state.

As a result of respiratory cramps respiratory rhythm is disturbed with a feeling of lack of air.

Such changes inevitably affect the speech of the patient: the smoothness of reproduction is lost, the rhythm is disrupted. The voice changes: it becomes prolonged, may disappear completely for a short time.

Convulsive speech activity does not manifest itself immediately. Characteristic signs precede the defect. The child goes silent for a few hours, even days, starting to speak with a stutter. Experiences difficulty before he/she starts talking. Makes long stops in speech. Repeats several times syllables, words at the beginning of sentences, uses additional sounds.

Laloneurosis in childhood manifests itself in 3 forms:

  • tonic;
  • clonic;
  • mixed.

Tonic Logoneurosis is characterized by: pauses in speech, stretching of syllables: ma…shina

Clonic logoneurosis is characterized by the repetition of individual sounds: m-m-m-m-machine. The mixed form combines signs of both of the previous ones.

In the disorder, children usually develop fear, anxiety before they start talking. Unusual movements appear, the face is distorted by grimaces, and tics occur. Such manifestations are the unconscious attempt of the patient to cope with difficulties in pronunciation.

Character traits of stutterers include:

  • timidity, fear of speaking in the presence of strangers;
  • weak-willedness;
  • high impressionability;
  • embarrassment in front of strangers;
  • excessive imagination.

Speech is one of the main ways of communication. The inability to master it to the full extent causes various kinds of discomfort. Formation of phobias is possible, one of which is frequently sociophobia – fear of people. Isolation from society sometimes leads to complete isolation.

Causes of stuttering

In scientific circles, there is no consensus on the causes of stuttering. Different specialists in different eras have adhered to their hypotheses on this issue. In the 16th century, a Spanish linguist put forward the following point of view: the defect comes from the fact that an already mature baby sucks milk from the mother’s breast. To cure the ailment, it is advisable to wean the child from the breast, forcing him to eat on his own.

In the 19th century, scientist Lagusen suggested that logoclonia was caused by feelings of shame, anger, fright, and fear.

I.A. Sikorsky was the first to point out the occurrence of the defect in early childhood at the time of speech development.

Modern science divides the causes of logoclonia into predisposing and provoking ones.

Predisposing factors form an impressive group. Among them are:

  • The pathological course of pregnancy – infections, fetal hypoxia;
  • premature birth;
  • birth trauma;
  • asphyxia;
  • prematurity;
  • Infectious diseases suffered in childhood – meningitis, encephalitis;
  • Measles, whooping cough, typhoid fever, rickets, helminth infestations, endocrine disorders;
  • ENT diseases
  • Traumas of the brain – contusions, CMT.

Triggers of stuttering

The inciting factors of the defect are those that cause the disorder only under a “favorable” set of circumstances and in the presence of predisposing causes. If the necessary conditions are absent, the provocateurs are not dangerous for the child.

The provoking factors include:

  • acute psychological trauma, which provokes the strongest shock – the experience of terror, fear. Fear plays a special role. Positive emotions, along with negative ones, can also provoke logoneurosis;
  • Chronic psychological stress. Usually, an unfavorable atmosphere in the family or bad relations with the school teacher lead to chronic psychological traumatization, as children spend a considerable part of their time at school;
  • False stuttering – imitating relatives with a similar defect;
  • Over-learning of left-handed children;
  • learning several languages at an early age. We are talking about foreign languages imposed on the baby at 2-3 years old. During this period, children have a poor command of their native language. Studying a foreign language puts an additional strain on the child’s psyche, causing nervous overstrain;
  • The same overstrain can also cause gadgets that are too fond of the modern kids 2, 3 years;
  • errors in the formation of speech – a large information load on the baby, imposing him the material that does not correspond to his age (abstract concepts, complex turns of phrase).

Depending on the influencing factor, laloneurosis can be neurotic or neurosis-like.

Neurotic laloneurosis develops in conditions of psychological trauma. The nervous system of such children is characterized by heightened emotionality and vulnerability. Babies do not sleep well, are anxious and impressionable. A combination of speech exercises and musical ones does not help remedy the situation. Overloading the child, inadequate parental attitudes aggravate the problem.

Neurosis-like stuttering occurs in early childhood, at 2-3 years of age, against the background of organic brain damage due to trauma, infections, pathological births. Children’s speech becomes monotonous, the frequency of spastic speech phenomena depends on physical, mental fatigue.

Left-handed stuttering

Currently, the number of proponents of the theory that a left-handed person over-trained in the possession of the right hand, in most cases develops logoneurosis has increased. This is proved by numerous stories told by adults who had such bitter experiences in their childhood.

Male, 50 years old. From early childhood, according to his mother’s words, the boy was retrained from left-handedness to use the right hand. As a result, from the age of 5 the boy began to stutter. Since then the defect has not let him go, persisting to this day.

An interesting story happened to another man. It started like everyone else: as a child, he was retrained from his left hand to his right hand, which led to a stutter. Soon the boy fell ill with polio, his right arm was paralyzed. The sick man had to learn to do everything with his left hand. After mastering left-handedness, it was found that the defect disappeared.

There is enough evidence of a connection between overlearning left-handedness and logoneurosis. But scientists argue about the mechanisms of this connection.

Some argue that the cause is in the work of the hemispheres. The brain is characterized by the phenomenon of laterality. One human hemisphere is dominant. The nerve pathways cross at the base of the brain, so the left-handed person has the right hemisphere and the right-handed person has the left hemisphere.

When left-handed people are retrained, the influence of the left hemisphere, which is weak in their nature, becomes stronger. It turns out that the control of both hemispheres is equalized. This is unnatural, contrary to the natural functioning of the brain. As a result, we get stuttering as one of the consequences.

Another theory takes as its basis the mental stress which the child gets under during overtraining. There are known cases when children were tied to the left hand to immobilize them. If they tried to release the “favorite” limb, they were yelled at or even beaten.

Left-handed children wore special harnesses that restricted the movement of the left limb. They glued a notebook to the desk from the right side. They resorted to other tricks. And let the methods of retraining have softened over time, cultivated, the tension does not go away.

For the emotional child, the increased tension, control is a great ordeal, the result of which becomes neurosis. One of the symptoms of neurosis is stuttering.

All in all, it becomes clear that retraining a left-handed child carries certain risks regarding the occurrence of laloneurosis.

The Role of the Family

The family for children is the first, main environment of existence. Close people can become a disease-causing organism, provoking the flourishing of the disease, but, on the other hand, have a beneficial effect on the elimination of the defect.

A large role in the formation of logoclonia belongs to the model of education. The risk of pathology increases in those families where the baby is raised in an environment of authoritarianism, hypersocialization, high emotional connection with the mother. The child is not perceived as such, the right to become a personality is taken away, and his rights are infringed. Parents do not have an adequate understanding of the child and his or her role in society. Lack of attention to the child’s age-specific needs.

The atmosphere in the family is another triggering factor for logoneurosis. Scandals, disagreements, and misunderstandings between parents act as a chronic stressor. Violence and dictatorship in the family environment play a special role. Faced with the problem of logoneurosis, many parents subconsciously choose the wrong way to react. The first reaction is resistance, rejection of the disease, the desire to get rid of the defect as quickly as possible.

Poorly informed about the disease, relatives make fatal mistakes in dealing with children. They show excessive control, anxiety, make the baby repeat phrases several times. Anxiety of relatives is transmitted to the patient. In this situation, the defect is exacerbated. The mother’s negative attitude towards the disorder provokes increased attention to the speech defects of young patients, increasing the sensitivity to the problem.

Examination of parents whose children have logoneurosis revealed the following deviations in the mental state of adults, and first of all, of the mother: guilt, anxiety, confusion, hopelessness and anxiety about the baby’s future. Useless attempts to eliminate the disease disorganize the family. Therefore, parents should also pay attention to their condition, which is reflected in the psychological background of the little patient.

Based on data from conversations with mothers of sick children, we were able to identify the following patterns of attitudes toward the problem:

  • Obstacle to overcome – we have tried everything, this is our last hope;
  • Unearned punishment, payback for sins – why do we need it?
  • an illness in need of treatment – he’s sick because he’s weak;
  • a tarnished reputation – where did that come from in our educated, fine family;
  • a display of a hard character – he’s a sourpuss;
  • absence of a problem – different things happen, and it will pass.

All of the above positions are destructive to progress in the treatment of logoneurosis. Given that children in most cases imitate the reactions of adults, we should hardly expect an adequate assessment from the patient himself/herself, and therefore a positive trend in the treatment of logoclonia.

The only correct response to the problem is the consolidation of the family group. С

It is necessary to create a favorable atmosphere for children in the family, adequate participation in treatment without being hyperopaedic, but with support.

Parents need to remember that their behavior has a tremendous effect on their child’s potential.


Therapy for stuttering in children begins with the determination of the cause of the defect. To do this, kids are taken to a neurologist. If the specialist detects a violation of the nervous system, prescribes medication.

In the absence of organic disorders enters into battle speech therapy.

Particular attention is paid to the muscle tone. In some cases, muscle spasms that interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses are identified. They arise as a result of trauma in childbirth, and are more often of an emotional nature, resulting from negative emotions and nervous tension. Spasm of the muscles of the neck, shoulder girdle, and abdomen is detected in almost all children with stuttering. Against this background, the head is slightly forward. To remove muscle clamps, it is necessary to resort to myotherapy.

When logoneurosis of psychological genesis, besides speech therapy, psychotherapy is also involved. The specialist discovers hidden fears of the little patient. Conducts explanatory work, helping to overcome constraining beliefs.

When the cause of stuttering runs in the family relationships, family psychotherapy is done. After the psychotherapist has worked successfully with the baby causes disorder, the baton is passed to a speech therapist.

In his work speech therapist uses articulation, breathing exercises, speech therapy massage. He also resorts to a special technique – a mode of silence. For 5-6 days, children communicate with the speech therapist, with each other (in the case of group sessions) verbally, through games, special signals. It turns out to be a game of silence with the therapeutic effect. In order not to seduce children to communicate, kids are separated, determining each his or her activity: one plays with a doll, the other rolls the car, the third draws.

This technique is also developing. Children are asked to put things in a basket in red. Or show transport depicted in the book, give the command to remember, adding that in a couple of days kids will have to remember what kind of transport they saw. Who will name more names, and he won.

For relatives, the mode of silence involves talking to the little patient in gestures or whispers. “No” to cartoons, new toys, entertainment activities. The regularity in combining with rest. It is strictly forbidden to involve the sick person in conflict situations. Adult television in the presence of the baby is also prohibited. Emphasis is placed on the development of fine motor skills.

Parents are required to follow some rules:

  • Maintain a daily routine so that the baby is not overworked;
  • create a calm, comfortable atmosphere in the house;
  • Talk to children quietly, calmly, without raised tones. Do not use abrupt movements;
  • control the conversation of a logoneurotic child – do not rush, speak calmly, measured;
  • show interest in children’s speech. Surround children with care and affection, maintain tactile contact. Less criticism, more praise;
  • Do activities with music, combining speech with dance movements.

Stuttering can become a big problem for children, cause persistent fear of communicating with people, maladaptation in the community. These are the consequences of a careless, laissez-faire attitude toward the problem.

Timely treatment works wonders: the sooner the better. You need a supportive atmosphere and support for the little patient. Children easily overcome the barrier that has arisen, gain confidence in themselves and successfully form new levels of speech communication.

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