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In my school there was a boy who stuttered. He stuttered so much that it seemed at times that he was making fun of others. I was impressed by his difficulty in fluently gesticulating words, and I often tried to help him by completing the word he was trying to say. Experts on child stuttering say that's a mistake. And furthermore, they reveal that childhood bilingualism can lead the child to stutter.
The study, carried out by a team of British researchers reveals that children who speak more than one language before the age of 5 are much more likely to stutter and that they may have trouble coping with that speech disorder.
A study was made of 317 cases of stuttering children, living in and around London, who saw a speech therapist for stuttering when they were between 8 and 10 years old. Three out of four children were bilingual, spoke in addition to English, a second language at home. Of the bilingual children, almost 61% stuttered, and only 26% did not have this disorder.
Those who stuttered did so in two languages. And in most, the disorder started when they were 4 years old. 75% of children who did not stutter used the second language at home, while the others spoke both languages, probably because their parents spoke different languages. That means that if a child uses only one second language at home, before the age of 5, the probability that he or she will start stuttering is less.
The study also reveals that the disorder affects boys more than girls, in a ratio of four men to each woman. And although stuttering has not affected children's school performance, the researchers insist that stuttering needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible, so that children do not develop low self-esteem, insecurity and other difficulties.
Stuttering is not a disease, it is a speech disorder and difficulty that affects 1% of the school population, between 2 and 5 years of age.
You can read more articles similar to Most bilingual children stutter, in the category of Childhood Diseases on site.