Saturday, November 24, 2007

McKenna's Stuttering

McKenna has been in speech-language therapy (SLT) for well over a year now and has made great progress. She has been talking up a storm. And she no longer is in weekly physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT). Early Intervention in DuPage County is just phenomenal and all of the therapists have really done a great job helping McKenna overcome delays associated with low muscle tone (benign congenital hypotonia). And McKenna is a little smartie. So lately I have taken some well deserved time-off from worrying. Worrying about McKenna that is.

But it's always something where children are concerned... McKenna has started to noticeably stutter. She doesn't stutter on sounds but on words--especially when she is asking a question. She will begin a sentence with the word "you" but proceed to repeat it 5,6,7,8 times. Sometimes she just gives up and says, "I love you Mom" or some other darling non sequitur. I notice it is worse with she is upset, tired, or rushed. In the wee hours of the morning she woke up and couldn't produce a single sentence without a stutter. While I tried not to show it, the incident rattled me.

McKenna's speech therapist says this often occurs with many children between the ages of 3 and 5--even with those who have no speech delays. She has urged me not to be overly concerned--just mindful. Most importantly, whether this is a true stutter or just a "phase of disfluency", it is important not to correct McKenna or to make a big deal out of it. Correcting or mimicking her can result in making her feel self-conscious about her speech, which can, in turn, result in further stuttering. So we just have to let McKenna's words catch up with her thoughts and hope she grows out of this.

It just hits a raw nerve for me. I sooo want McKenna and Ethan to experience ease in social situations and to not struggle with mommy's challenges. I'm not sure if folks know how much effort it takes in order for me to feel relaxed in a social setting. It's actually work for me. I guess I just hope that all of the "social stuff" comes a little more naturally for them. And a stutter is just another thing to overcome in that regard.

I know--I'm making a huge issue out of what could be a passing phase. I'm just putting words to thoughts this morning.

And the worrying continues.

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