Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Reid's always had a fairly normal stutter. "Mommy, can I have ... k k k can I have ... can I have that please?" He did seem to do it more frequently than I expected, but it sounded like normal preschool talk. I brought it up to his Pediatrician at Nell's last check up; and the two of them had a stutter free conversation, so she told me not to be concerned. He would often go days without a stutter, so I wasn't surprised his Dr didn't hear it.

About two weeks ago we went to a school sponsored screening. I could confidently check off almost all areas of development, speech and eating were the two I showed a little concern for. The lady evaluating him (watching him run around like crazy) assured me his speech was above average and his constant cry of hunger was the result of his large frame ("I'm assuming your husband is big like you too?").  Knowing Ben was concerned about his hearing, we took the free hearing test and he passed with flying colors.

Then this week happened.

I don't even know exactly what triggered it, but around last Friday (or was it Wednesday?) he started stuttering more frequently. Saturday he got stuck on "macaroni and cheese" and it's all been down hill from there. And when I say he got stuck on macaroni and cheese, I mean he literally could not say it. All day long he kept trying to push those two words out of his mouth and he just couldn't do it. His mouth would hang open and frustration would flare up in his eyes. He'd clasp his hands over his gaping mouth. He'd scream "I can't do it!" But he just wouldn't stop trying.

Ever since then he has hardly completed a sentence without some major stuttering. He stumbles on nearly every word in simple three word sentences. The other strange change is that he no longer repeats words or phrases as part of his stutter -- now the repetition is just of sounds. Sometimes it isn't even sounds, sometimes he just opens his mouth and lets the air hang out. As if the effort of trying to say a word just sits on the tip of his tongue, with no where to go.

I'm not sure how to help him, but I did call the neighborhood school. I'm getting impatient as I wait for them to return my call. I realize this post probably sounds frantic, but I am trying to stay calm. Earlier today we had some friends over for a play date. I was anxious to see if being around his peers would help him fall back into his confident speech skills. It didn't. It kind of broke my heart to watch him struggle. I even noticed a change in his attitude.

We have a phrase we like to use when he starts to get frustrated, "use your words ... and say how you feel." I found myself telling him to use his words, only to realize that the inability to use his words was exactly what was frustrating him. He resorted to shouting silly phrases and nonsense sounds. His shouting was loud. When he tried to use words and started to stutter his voice just got louder and louder and louder.

I know this too shall pass. And if it doesn't, oh well. But this moment of limbo -- where I sit and wait for a specialist to give us the tools we need -- is causing frustration within myself. Ben keeps telling me this new explosion of stuttering isn't my fault, but it's hard not to think I must have done something to trigger it. Curse that macaroni and cheese!

Ah, deep breathe.

And good night. 

1 comment:

Troy and Lisa said...

This happened to us and it corrected itself and went away as quickly as it began. It was so hard to watch. My girl's speech has always been above average and all of a sudden she couldn't get a word out. I remember one time in the car as she couldn't get a word out, or stop the repeating sounds, and I started crying hearing it, then she just cried too. It lasted a few weeks and she'd tell me the words were stuck in her throat and she couldn't get her tongue to say them. We had a well child visit and of course she spoke to the dr stutter free. She assured me it was a common phase of speech development, and sure enough, it disappeared!

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