Stuttering includes the involuntary repetition of words and sounds. This repetition can disrupt the flow and fluency of speech. Stuttering is a normal occurrence during the development of speech production as children learn the rules and nuances of their native language. This includes word selection and phonological development.
Most children progress naturally through the different stages of language development and gain an understanding of the phonological system with little thought to the overall process. Stuttering is a common speech disorder, as is final consonant deletion, and one can be used to help overcome the other.
When Fluency and Articulation Are a Struggle
Some children struggle with their speech and need additional guidance developing their auditory language. This struggle may manifest in the form of a speech impediment or a stutter. A stutter is common in children, but if the stutter remains beyond the appropriate developmental milestone and the child has not developed a more natural speech pattern by the age of 5, then additional help from a licensed speech therapist may be required.
What Causes Stuttering
- Rapid speaking
- Neurological functioning
- Developmental delays
- Speech and language impairments
Language Development Issues That May Arise During the Process of Language Acquisition
- Inappropriate use of phonological rules
- Difficulty discriminating between sounds
- Lack of accuracy in articulation
- Difficulty with auditory perception and/or production of sound
- Substitutions, omission, and distortions of speech sounds
- Prolongations in speech and repetition of words
- Final Consonant Deletion
Living With a Speech Disorder
For those who live with a speech disorder; talking to other people can be challenging. Imagine knowing what you would like to say, yet being unable to express it and communicate effectively. It can be a frustrating experience for the speaker as his or her listener can often be confused by the speaker's inconsistent speech pattern, and this can lead to anxiety and avoidance of social interactions.
Overcoming a Stutter
Stuttering can be embarrassing, and it can affect a person's quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Though stuttering is normal for children under five years of age and can be a transient stage, sometimes the disruptive speech pattern can continue into adulthood.
While you can't completely cure a stutter, you can learn to control it through regular speech practices that you can learn from a licensed therapist, or there are free instructional video lessons you can find online. These strategies can lead to a more natural speaking pattern that increases the speaker’s ability to communicate effectively. One strategy used to overcome a stutter is to omit the last letter of each word in a sentence intentionally in an exercise called final consonant deletion.
Natural Speaking Patterns
Have you ever played the game where a letter was omitted from a word or you skipped a word and your brain added in the information you needed for it to make sense? You may not have even noticed the mistake! That is usually what happens when someone makes a mistake during a conversation; the listener can easily follow along, despite a few errors by the speaker.
With speech disorders that interrupt or affect speaking patterns, like stuttering, it's hard to follow along and add the missing letter or word that the speaker skipped. This leads to confusion and the need to have the speaker repeat themselves at a slower pace. The inability to communicate one's thoughts through effective speech can increase anxiety and make the stutter more pronounced. The natural speaking patterns or fluency are an essential part of ensuring comprehension and understanding, which is why stuttering is considered a dysfluency.
An Example Based on Visual Language Development
When children are learning to write they focus on the beginning sounds. They slowly develop the ability to hear and distinguish the individual sounds and how they blend together to form words. With this knowledge, they begin to write words with a beginning, middle, and ending sounds. During this process it's often difficult to decipher their writing, but you usually have a good idea if they have written the beginning and ending sounds. If the ending sound is missing, then you may struggle to process the different possibilities well enough to allow you to read the text accurately.
The Link Between Auditory and Visual Language Development
Before children learn to read and write, they learn to produce the various sounds and words that make-up are language. They learn that a horse is not a big dog through pictures and constant visual cues. Concepts that do not have an associated image are more challenging for them to learn and have to be taught through repetition and context.
For example, when listening to a child read, he or she may say "carnival" for the word carnivorous. This is because they are guessing based on the initial sounds. Initial sounds are easier for children to say and learn. As they learn to speak, they may also omit the final consonant to make the words more manageable.
What Is Final Consonant Deletion?
The final constant deletion means the final constant in a word gets dropped. The word dad would be “da,” the word mom would be “mah,” and the word bath would be “baa.” While it helps with speed and pacing, the comprehension is often lost. Sentences like, “I want a bath,” would be said as “I wan a baa,” or “Can I please have some toast and jam,” would be said as “Ca I plee hav suh toe a ja.” Removing the final consonant from the word reduces the number of syllables that need to be pronounced, and it gives the child fewer syllables to worry about and increases his or her confidence and fluency.
Final Consonant Deletion
Final consonant deletion is a phonological disorder that is a common occurrence for children up to age five. By the age of five many children will develop fluency and articulation of the words. For those who continue to struggle there are different strategies they can learn.
Final consonant deletion is also one way parents and therapists can increase a child’s ability to process the different parts of the word and see the word differently. Even though final consonant deletion can make it difficult to understand children when they are speaking, there are you can also use steps to correct this modification of speech and these same techniques as a remedy for stuttering.
How To Use Final Consonant Deletion To End Stuttering
Stuttering can cause anxiety and lead to an even more pronounced stutter or may lead to omitting letters or entire words. Having a strategy that allows the speaker a chance to get comfortable with the first few syllables of a word can increase their fluency and their confidence. Helping them to overcome their stutter. Final consonant deletion, even though it's considered a speech impediment when used consistently in speech pattern development, can help people break down their words to slow down speech and become more comfortable with the articulation of each syllable.
Using Flash Cards And Other Visual Aids To Improve Fluency
Visual aids are also an important tool and increase a child’s ability to break words into manageable pieces. The nuances of the language require a natural speech pattern and articulation of ending sounds, so while final consonant deletion can help with the development of a more natural speech pattern, chunking the sounds and providing visual cues helps with the articulation of each sound group to ensure the final consonant is spoken without an interruption to the speech pattern.
During this process, parents are encouraged to speak slowly to their children while coaching the child to do the same. These can include pictures, visual cues, flip charts of word families, and flash cards to encourage the development of a correlation between the pictures and the sounds they are trying to pronounce.
Besides slowing down when speaking to young children and encouraging them to do the same, showing them recognizable images of words they are having trouble with can help them resolve their issue articulating the word in smaller chunks. There are a variety of visual aids available to therapists and parents at stutteringdoctor.com.
Final consonant deletion is a transient speech impediment that children encounter when they are first learning to speak. However, when working to help children overcome stuttering, it's useful to shorten words and help them slow down their speaking. Flashcards and visual images and cues can help speakers overcome both speech disorders: stuttering and final consonant deletion; using one to overcome the other.
Strategies To Use
- Pronounce each syllable clearly so that the child can make a clear separation of the sounds
- Provide visual aids and play word games
- Provide alternate shorter words they can incorporate into their vocabulary
- Increase the child’s ability to visualize the words
- Give them time to slow down and process the different sounds
- If he or she omits the final consonant, give the child an opportunity to process the language another way
- Help them put the word together, including the final consonant