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Child - stammering

Q: My daughter is 2 years and 9 months old. She speaks both Malayalam and Marathi (since I am a Malayalee and my wife is a Maharashtrian). Last week, we had been to my hometown to attend a ceremony where my daughter was exposed to a lot of friends and relatives. She normally gets frightened attending such get-togethers, and cries throughout. But this time, after the function, she has suddenly started stammering. This has started since the last 3-4 days, and though not continuous stammering, she has a distinct stammer in both the languages, particularly for words starting with tha, ka, etc. She also has pronounced stammering while replying to questions and also holds her hand against her mouth as if she has to try hard to let the word out. I am worried about this, particularly since she has been a very talkative girl with absoluterly no stammer. This has started suddenly. Please advise.

A:The best thing you can do to help your daughter is to relax yourself and not make a big issue out of it. This happens even to adults who have been speaking a language since childhood when exposed to a different language for some days and then returning to the familiar one within a few days. Your daughter is at the stage when she is still expanding her vocabulary and grammar of BOTH the languages-and doing fine in both!

Do allow her the liberty of this temporary lapse! Do not make her conscious or label her as a stammerer after just 3-4 days. She will quickly settle down to her dual-language development, which can be hard for any child. Anxiety at the function coupled with more exposure to one language at the function has sparked off this episode. So relax yourself and help her to relax and be her natural talkative self!

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