November 08 2022
Every parent looks forward to the first spoken words of their child. It is an incredibly special moment, as is that of the first steps, the first bite of solid food, the first “I love you, mommy and daddy!”. But things in life don’t always go smoothly. And even though a child has spoken, speech isn’t always smooth either. And it can be more than difficult for a child to pronounce calmly, with an even tone and intonation the cherished “I love you”, without stuttering. This is exactly Andrei’s case. He has whom to say “I love you!” to. At home he is looked after with lots of love, attention and respect. He speaks, but with a serious impairment in the free flow of speech and with a distorted fluency of speech.
Andrew is 8 years old and stutters. His stuttering started when he was 3 and he uttered his first words. Usually, the stuttering in infant age is not a serious problem and cause for concern. In most cases, it subsides between the ages of 5 and 6, as this is when the child learns to coordinate his facial muscles to produce different sounds. However, if this does not happen, stammering at an older age requires special support and help. That is more than necessary and vital for the development of children like Andrei. The reason is that stuttering can negatively affect not only their self-esteem but also their writing, because it is also associated with an articulation defect. Experts advise that children’s stuttering should be managed with professional assistance, if possible before school age, to ensure the natural and normal course of the child’s education.
Unfortunately, Andrei’s parents contacted the team at Foundation for Our Children relatively late, when he was in second grade. However, this not only doesn’t stop us from putting all our efforts i helping the family, on the contrary – it motivated us to try and work even harder. For this goal we immediately appointed one of our most qualified experts in child speech therapy, Tanya Ivanova.
At their first meeting, she found out that the child was not only stuttering and having trouble expressing himself, but also exhibits severe respiratory and clonic spasms while speaking. In 90% of the cases, Andrei’s speech is choppy. His frustration with his own defect is also clearly evident. But this frustration definitely doesn’t give rise to despair. On the contrary – after Tanya Ivanova prescribed a special therapy for the child, he visibly clings to it. Andrei participates with all his capabilities, motivation and desire in the sessions with our speech therapist. His mother is no less responsive and determined. She is actively involved in the therapy, with Tanya Ivanova assigning special breathing and phonation exercises to be carried out at home.
Andrei is equally diligent at home and at the sessions in the specialized speech therapy office. He is strict, persistent and tries really hard – both for himself and for his parents who believe in him. Tanya Ivanova believes in him even more. She is no less happy than mom and mad when Andrei visibly shows progress. Slowly, little by little, the boy begins to control his own stammering. The first results come quickly – Andrei is breathing correctly and has learned to speak slowly but clearly. With each exercise, the boy achieves another victory in his battle against stuttering. And when you win battle after battle, victory is inevitable.
Today, Andrew has a fully automated and fluent speech. Stuttering is a thing of the past. His frustration with himself is gone too. Andrei is content and happy and we hope he is also proud of himself. Because we are incredibly proud of him and his accomplishment.
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