Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stuttering Episodes

During the first half of my pregnancy with Adrian, he had me very worried because one of the pre-natal tests came back indicating that he was at an increased risk of Down Syndrome. It was the first time in my life that I was constantly worrying about something day and night, for weeks! Anyway, all that worry was relieved after week 20 of the pregnancy when I had another scan.

About three weeks ago, he did it to me again - gave me a day and night type of worry. He has been speaking very well and chats like some three year olds. His sentences are long and mostly complete ones with correct grammar. So, it came as a real shock when he started stuttering. I don't know what the trigger was the first time, but one night, he started repeating the word 'I'. He always says 'I love you' about a hundred times before he goes to sleep but that night, he repeated the 'I' five times each time he said it.

By the next morning, he was repeating the first word of every sentence he spoke. And by that evening, when he was tired, he had to work so hard to get the first word out that he would start crying. It was heart wrenching to watch.

All this happened during the Chinese New Year period when we were very busy and there were a lot of people around. When we finally managed to have a quiet day at home, and I could dedicate all my attention to him, he seemed to improve. Instead of repeating a word, he would just drag it into a long sound. And then, strangely, a blessing in disguise happened. He clipped his finger in a door hinge and the next day, he woke up and he spoke normally again. Boy was I relieved!

About a week later, I lost my temper at him and gave him a loud and overly harsh scolding. Almost instantly, the stuttering returned - worse. He repeated every word in each sentence! This carried on for quite a few days and I noticed that he started to choose not to communicate with words. While quiet is one of the things I crave for this household, you can imagine the guilt I felt for scolding him and wishing for quiet when he was now finding it too hard to even attempt speaking. We were still in Malaysia but I made an appointment at a speech pathologist for the day after we were to arrive back. Strangely, on the same day that I made the arrangements for the appointment, he bumped his chin on the edge of a table and ended up cutting his lip. He went for a nap straight afterwards and when he woke up, he spoke normally again! I guess the brain got something else to worry about and freed up his speech or something. I was so thankful!

We still went for the appointment when we got back to Brisbane but the speech pathologist said he spoke perfectly, above average his age group in fact. She couldn't tell me anything useful because she wasn't able to observe him. We're supposed to monitor him for the next three weeks and go back.

The forced lesson from all this is that I am now about ten notches more patient. I've consciously tried to become one of those silent but deadly parents - I have not achieved this yet. There were a few times where I had to discipline Adrian, and I did this by either taking away an offending toy or removing him from a situation. He started dragging out the first words in some of his sentences again. Thankfully, it only lasted a day and then disappeared.

What am I supposed to do with a two year old that I cannot lose it with? I know you're not supposed to in the first place but it happens! I must not compare my sons but even without this problem, Adrian was well on his way to becoming a much more challenging two year old than Aaron was.


johnorford said...

A few years ago i went through a stage of stuttering (all of a sudden). I was in my mid twenties back then, terribly frustrating and sorta of weird.

I think it comes on when I am particularly tired or stretched. Sounds similar to Adrian.

Mike said...

You've already done the first thing that I thought of - speech pathologist.

I started lisping when I was in grade school. Did you know you make the proper 's' sound by putting the tip of your tongue behind your bottom row of teeth?

Amanda said...

John - Thanks for sharing your experience. Did you 'grow out' of it?

Mike - Never realized until now how the 's' sound was made. I hope our next visit to the speech pathologist will be a little more fruitful.

johnorford said...

I still get the odd episode, but I think I recognise it better now, and understand a bit better why it pops up. So that helps.