Putting it all together – stuttering and the developing child’s brain.


As children grow and their brains develop the connections in the brain often have to coordinate to achieve the desired function.  Sometimes when children undertake a growth spurt these connections develop at a great rate and the coordination of these may not come together as smoothly as one would wish.  This must be frustrating for the children as they cannot do what they want, and also for parents, as frustrated children often take this out with their behaviour.  Sometimes children may display signs of this brain coordination struggle, such as stammering or stuttering with speech which may not have been evident before.

Most of these developmental changes are integrated in time and the behaviours or symptoms will change again – with stuttering or stammering it is not uncommon in children between 2 and 4 years of age to suddenly start the struggle to form their words when they have had no difficulties prior.  There is plenty of useful information available online (http://www.webmd.com/parenting/stuttering#1 and http://www.stuttering.co.nz/) and as an osteopath I like to assess the function of the developing mouth, tongue and throat to help with the integration of what is a complex brain function.  It may be useful however to consider having a child assessed by a speech language therapist.