Our life is a roller coaster which reminds us that if we are up one day, we will be down the other day as well. Everyone has his own share of sorrows and struggles in life and Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala never burdens one beyond his/ her limits. Alhmadulillah my elder son started his fluent speech before the age of 2 years that was unlike the kids of his age. In fact I have encountered quite a few kids who can speech fluently before 2. That was the time when we had to shift from our parent city and leave families behind. My son who was habitual of spending most of his day at his grandparents had emotional attachment with them and the house. This was a disturbing phase and an emotional setback for him and after almost 2 weeks of shifting, he started stammering. Not even a single word he could utter without stumble. The child who used to impress others with his ability to speak suddenly lost it all. Imagine the situation and trauma that we as parents went through when this phase started.
In the beginning, I was unable to accept the fact that this can happen and why. I was relating it more to the physical attributes like his recent throat infection and dust allergy. I realized in no time that it is increasing with every sentence he utters and we decided to consult a child specialist. I remember I was constantly crying in front of the doctor and until we reached home. She explained the psychological impact of our decision to take him away from his grandparents that was ultimately creating anxiety and disturbance in his mind. The unseen fears started haunting me. I had to start his pre-schooling soon. I wanted him to succeed in all fields of life and I was wondering how it would all go with speech problems. We consulted many specialists afterwards and concluded three important points that needed our utmost consideration:
- Firstly, we as parents need to give him full time, support and encouragement. We need to show patience towards him and listen to him attentively without pointing out anything.
- Secondly, we have to make sure he doesn’t realize the speech problem he is facing and going through. The chances of it becoming permanent increase if he consciously realizes this is how he speaks.
- Thirdly, we have to ensure no one imitates him or laughs at him or points it out in front of him.
These things came with an additional responsibility of keeping an eye on all of his activities, his surroundings, people talking to him and taking care of his emotional and psychological needs before the trigger goes off. The situation was very challenging for me as I had my second son just 4 months ago, we just shifted to a new city, I had recently resigned from my lucrative job and it was my first time staying away from joint family system and manage house chores on my own as a stay at home mom. I also searched internet for help and it was equally horrible. Alas nothing on internet these days lead to anything other than cancer or death whether it is just a little sneezing and unfortunately no useful information or life experiences related to child stammering were available on internet that can give me support, encouragement and help me tackle the core issue.
Life suddenly seemed the toughest and the constant fear of what if, what if, what if he never gets his fluency back and the problem persists for lifetime irked me. The doctors explained that I need to be strong and patient to protect my son from emotional stress and keeps him away from anxiety which was affecting his speech fluency. It was hard and took immense dedication and faith to get in gear and change my mindset of complete worry and fear into ‘I am a soldier and there is nothing I can’t do to improve my son’s condition’. We as parents should remember that speech impediment triggers to be a sign of significant mental stress or physical abuse and we need to focus on identifying causes and remove them completely.
It took my son almost 9 to 10 months to fully recover from stammering with our constant efforts to sooth his emotional and psychological needs. I don’t remember a single day in those months when I didn’t cry or didn’t lose hope but I had to be strong to make him strong.
Faith in Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, supplicating in front of Him and thanking Him in the worst situation also helped me tackle the issue. I made an effort to help my son memorize the dua of Prophet Musa (a.s) and we used to recite it many times a day on daily basis. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala taught this dua to Prophet Musa to remove his impediment in speech and it helped my son a lot. This is one of his favorite duas now and he is habitual of reciting it daily Alhamdulillah.
Trust in Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala and then in our child’s abilities to conquer any issue he faces made us develop a sense of positive attitude and tolerance and ultimately we did it. I also suggest taking care of following points if your child shows similar signs, in addition to the aforementioned tips:
- Don’t create an environment of competitiveness in your home and don’t compare your child’s speaking ability or any other skills with anyone around.
- Nip the evil in the bud. Don’t delay whatever therapy or solution you choose and be very vigilant. It takes hard work, struggle and time to reach your goal. Don’t ignore even minute problems of your children. As a parent we need to have a keen eye.
- Don’t even think of snubbing or criticizing your child, no matter of what age they are. This insensitive behavior can further discourage speech and your child might not recover at all.
- Take your child’s teachers and family members who are close to him in confidence, discuss with them and explain them if they are missing any point that can impact his recovery.
- Just don’t let this problem become permanent and don’t let your child take refuge from his emotional stress under speech impediment.