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Your Child

Why Kids Should Learn Handwriting

1:45

I think it’s fair to say that handwriting is becoming a lost art. Computers, tablets and phone keyboards have made actual writing with a pen and paper almost obsolete.

What was once an integral part of a child’s daily school lessons, today, gets about one-fourth the instruction time. What is surprising is that in the not too far future, some kids may never learn penmanship at all.

If keyboards become the most popular form of communication, is there really a need for printing and cursive skills? Yes, according to some educators. Not only will children lose the personal touch of handwriting but will they also lose the benefits learning penmanship offers the developing brain.

Putting pen to paper stimulates brain circuits involved with memory, attention, motor skills, and language in a way punching a keyboard doesn't.

"There is this assumption that we live in the computer age, and we don't need handwriting anymore. That's wrong," says Virginia Berninger, PhD, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington.

Indiana University psychologist Karin James, PhD, recently published a study looking at brain scans of preschoolers before and after they learned to produce letters, either by printing or typing. Before the lesson, the children couldn't decipher between a random shape and a letter, and their brains responded similarly to each. After they learned to hand-draw a letter, brain regions needed for reading lit up at the sight of the letter like they do in a literate adult. Learning to type a letter yielded no such change.

Other studies have shown that preschoolers that practice handwriting read better in elementary school.

Handwriting also requires concentration and teaches brain circuits responsible for motor coordination, vision, and memory to work together. "If in the future we were to take away teaching handwriting altogether, I worry there could be real negative impacts on children's development," James says.

Timed right, cursive also comes with some unique advantages. Berninger's research suggests kids who link their letters via cursive get a better handle on what those words look like and end up being better spellers, she says. Cursive also allows them to compose their thoughts faster than in block handwriting or via typing (at least until about seventh grade, when their brains become mature enough to manage two-handed typing quickly).

Berninger says parents can offer their children extra guidance with learning handwriting even before their child begins school and through their early years. Some children may learn these skills quicker and some may need a little more practice. But on an average:

Preschoolers can strengthen motor skills by playing with clay, stringing beads, working through mazes, and connecting dots with arrows to form letters.

From kindergarten through second grade, children should master block letters.

Third to fourth grade is when kids can begin and master cursive.

By fifth grade, children should continue to write by hand while being introduced to typing by touch (not just hunt and peck.)

As I’ve become more accustomed to using my computer or phone to communicate with others, I’ve noticed that my own handwriting skills are beginning to suffer. Cursive isn’t as fluid and readable as when I handwrote more often and my eye, hand and pen coordination isn’t near as comfortable as it used to be. 

I hope future generations will not lose the art of handwriting, not only because of the developmental benefits it offers, but because each person’s handwriting is unique to them.

Story source: Lisa Marshall, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/handwriting-matters-kids#1

Your Child

What is a “Growth Plate” Fracture?

1:45

If you’ve ever taken your child to the ER for a broken bone, you may have heard the doctor mention the possibility of a growth plate fracture. What are growth plates? They are areas of soft tissue at the ends of your child's long bones. They are found in many places, including the thigh, forearm, and hand. 

Only children have growth plates because they are still developing. Once your child stops growing, the plates turn into bone. This typically happens around age 20.

Because the growth plates are soft, they're easily injured. When that happens it's called a "growth plate fracture."

These kinds of injuries usually heal easily, however, there can be complications if they are not treated correctly or the injury is severe.

Some complications can produce what is called “growth arrest.” That is when the injury causes his or her bone to stop growing. A child may end up with one leg or arm shorter than the other.

Your child's likely to get crooked legs or one leg shorter than the other if his growth plates were damaged at his knee. That's because there are a lot of nerves and blood vessels in that area that can be hurt along with the growth plate.

Sometimes, a growth plate fracture can also cause the bone to grow more, but this has the same result: One limb ends up longer than the other.

A less common problem is when a ridge develops along the fracture line. This can also interfere with the bone's growth or cause it to curve.

If the bone is sticking out of the skin, there's also a chance of infection, which can damage the growth plate even more.

Younger children are more likely to get complications because their bones still have a lot of growing to do. But one benefit is that younger bones tend to heal better.

There are treatments for growth plate injuries. If the fracture isn’t severe and the bone is still lined up correctly, your child's doctor might just put on a cast, splint, or brace. Your child won't be able to move his limb that way, which gives the growth plate time and space to heal.

What if the bones are not lined up correctly? Your child’s doctor will have to get them back in alignment by what is called “reduction.” Sometimes a doctor can line the bones back up by hand and sometimes it requires surgery.

If by hand, the doctor moves the bones back in line with his hands and not by cutting the skin. This is called "manipulation" and can be done in the emergency room or an operating room. Your child will get pain medication so he doesn't feel anything.

If your child needs surgery, It gets a little more complicated and takes anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple of months to heal. During surgery, the doctor cuts into the skin, puts the bones back in line, and puts in screws, wires, rods, pins, or metal plates to hold the pieces together. Your child will have to wear a cast until the bones heal.

If a ridge forms at the fracture line, your child's doctor may recommend surgery to remove the ridge. He can then pad the area with fat or another material to keep it from growing back.

Most of the time, kids get back to normal after a growth plate fracture without any lasting effects. One exception is if the growth plate is crushed. When that happens, the bone will almost always grow differently.

Once the injury has healed, your doctor may suggest exercises to strengthen the injured area.

Some children may need a second surgery called reconstructive surgery if the injury is serious enough.

If your child suffers a growth plate injury, he or she should have follow-up appointments for at least a year.  Once your doctor gives the OK, your child will be able to get back to the kinds of activities he or she enjoys.

Story source: Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, http://www.webmd.com/children/child-bone-fracture-16/growth-plate-fracture

 

Your Child

Special Diet for Kids With Crohn Disease, Colitis

1:45

A special diet may help children with Chron disease and ulcerative colitis without the use of medications, according to a new study.

Chron disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that was once considered rare in children. It is now recognized as one of the most important chronic diseases that affect children and teens with approximately 20-30 percent of all patients with Chron presenting symptoms when they are younger than 20 years old.

The diet includes non-processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts. Over 12 weeks, the diet appeared to ease all signs of these inflammatory bowel diseases in eight of the 10 affected children, researchers report.

"The study shows that without other intervention, other changes, we can improve individuals' clinical as well as laboratory markers," said study author Dr. David Suskind. He's a professor of pediatrics and director of clinical gastroenterology at Seattle Children's Hospital.

"I'm not surprised," Suskind added, "primarily because preliminary studies ... opened our eyes to the idea that diet had an impact."

Standard treatment for Chron disease and ulcerative colitis usually includes steroids and other immune-suppressing drugs. With severe symptoms, surgery is sometimes required to remove portions of the intestine.

Suskind and his team put the 10 patients, between the ages of 10 and 17, on a special diet. The diet is known as the specific carbohydrate diet. No other measures were used to treat the study participants' active Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.

The diet removes grains, most dairy products, and processed foods and sugars, except for honey. Those on the specific carbohydrate diet can eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts.

Suskind noted that scientists aren’t sure why the diet seems to work, but there are several theories.

First, it's known that diet affects the gut microbiome -- the array of bacteria in the digestive tract contributing to digestion and underlying the immune system .

"One of the likely reasons why dietary therapy works is it shifts the microbiome from being pro-inflammatory to non-inflammatory," he said.

"Another potential [reason] is there are a lot of additives in the foods we eat that can have an effect on the lining of the intestines. This diet takes out things deleterious to the mucus lining in the intestinal tract," Suskind said.

Other IBD researchers are praising the small study.

Dr. James Lewis is chief scientist for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's IBD Plexus Program. He's helping lead national research in progress comparing the effectiveness of the specific carbohydrate diet to the so-called Mediterranean diet in inducing remission in patients with Crohn's disease. The Mediterranean diet stresses eating mostly plant-based foods.

Lewis praised Suskind's new study, noting that despite its small size, it adds to growing research suggesting a potential therapeutic benefit from the specific carbohydrate diet to inflammatory bowel patients.

"Even our most effective [standard] therapies leave a proportion of patients with persistently active disease or the inability to completely heal the intestine," Lewis said. "Because of that alone, we need other therapeutic approaches."

The study was published in the recent edition of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

Story sources: Maureen Salamon, http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/news/20170109/special-diet-may-be-boon-for-kids-with-crohns-colitis#1

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/928288-overview

 

Your Child

Exercise: Reducing Depression - Behavioral Problems in Kids

2:00

Two new studies examined whether kids that have serious behavioral disorders or who may be at a higher risk for depression might benefit from exercise. The results showed positive outcomes for both sets of children participating in the studies.

For one study, researchers focused on children and teenagers with conditions that included autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression.

They looked at whether structured exercise during the school day -- in the form of stationary "cybercycles" -- could help ease students' behavioral issues in the classroom. Cybercycles are stationary bikes equipped with virtual reality exercising games.

Over a period of seven weeks, the study found it did. Kids were about one-third to 50 percent less likely to act out in class, compared to a seven-week period when they took standard gym classes.

Lead researcher, April Bowling, said the results were meaningful.

"On days that the students biked, they were less likely to be taken out of the classroom for unacceptable behavior," said Bowling, who is now an assistant professor of health sciences at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.

"That's important for their learning, and for their relationships with their teachers and other kids in class," she said.

The study was done at a school that enrolls kids with behavioral health disorders, many of whom also have learning disabilities. Their usual gym classes focused mainly on skill building, with only short bursts of aerobic activity at most, according to the researchers.

For seven weeks, 103 students used the stationary bikes during their usual gym class -- twice a week, for 30 to 40 minutes. Their classroom behavior was tracked and compared with a seven-week period without the bikes, when they had gym class as usual.

Overall, the study found, the students were better able to control their behavior in the classroom during the stationary-bike trial.

Another recent study from Norway, adds more evidence to the benefits of exercise in children. Researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology measured activity levels in 800 six year olds who were asked about their exercise habits and any depressive symptoms. Follow ups were recorded at 8 and 10 years of age. Overall, children who exercised more, at a moderate to vigorous intensity, showed fewer depressive symptoms years later.

While the researchers noted that exercise alone isn’t a cure for depression, it has been shown to alleviate some depression symptoms.

“I think that physicians, parents and policy makers should facilitate physical activity among children,” says Tonje Zahl, the study’s lead author. “The focus should be on physical activity not just for the here and now benefits, such as improving blood pressure, heart rate and other physical benefits, but for the mental health benefits over the long term,” she says. All children should be targeted for this, she adds.

Experts say there are several theories as to why exercise may help kids control their behaviors. Bowling suggests that exercise may redirect the brain away from worrying.

Another theory is that exercise affects neurotransmitters -- chemical messengers in the brain that help regulate mood and behavior.

Bowling notes that it’s unfortunate that many schools are focusing so much on academics that they are cutting out gym and recess.

"If we really want our kids to do well, they need more movement during the school day, not less", she said

If children are unable to get the exercise they need at school, there’s always active playtime, walking and sports after school that can help provide some of the same benefits.

Both studies were published in the online journal, Pediatrics.

Story source: Amy Norton, http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/news/20170109/exercise-an-antidote-for-behavioral-issues-in-students#1

Alice Park, http://time.com/4624768/exercise-depression-kids/

 

 

Your Child

Unhealthy TV Snack Ads Work on Preschoolers

1:30

Kids love snacks and advertisers count on that to sell products.  That’s why so many commercials on children’s TV shows promote snacks packed with sugar and salt. According to a new study, preschoolers who are exposed to these types of ads will eat more of those foods, even if they are not hungry.

The study, led by Jennifer Emond, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, involved a small study of 60 children, 2 to 5 years old. Emond’s team monitored the kids as they watched a 14-minute segment of “Sesame Street.”

The preschoolers got a filling snack before the show, so they were not hungry, and then had unlimited access to snacks during it.

Some of the children watched the "Sesame Street" segment without food commercials, while others watched the show with commercials for a popular salty snack. The ads depicted kids happily playing and eating the snack.

While viewing the segment, the children were provided with two snacks: corn snacks and graham snacks. The same corn snacks provided were featured in the food advertisements shown to some of the children.

The researchers found that the preschoolers who watched the segment embedded with food ads consumed more calories in snacks on average than those who watched the department store ads.

Additionally, the children who watched the food ads ended up eating more of the advertised corn snack than the graham snack -- even if they had never eaten the corn snack before and, therefore, were not familiar with it.

"That was surprising because it demonstrated the powerful effect food advertising can have on priming potentially unhealthy eating behaviors at a young age," Emond said.

The results of this small study replicate the findings of other studies with older children.

About 40% of all food and beverage ads that children and teens see on television are for unhealthy snacks, according to a 2015 report by the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (PDF).

"Parents should not shrug off food marketing. These ads really do influence children," said Marlene Schwartz, director for the center and a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Connecticut, who was not involved in the new study.

"If the ads were for healthy foods, that would be an asset to parents, but when the ads are for unhealthy foods, they make parents' job harder," she said.

Story sources: Jacqueline Howard, http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/21/health/food-ads-kids-preschool/

https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/obesity-health-news-505/tv-snack-food-ads-get-preschoolers-snacking-more-study-shows-716956.html

Your Child

Kids: Mouthguards For All Contact Sports

1:45

Youth sports participation has grown steadily over the years and so have injuries. The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports dental injuries as the most common type of face and mouth injury kids experience in sports related accidents.

A new report issued by dental experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says that mouthguards should be included in safety gear for all contact sports.  

Sports-related dental injuries send more than 600,000 people to the emergency room every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Most of these injuries involve the front teeth, but the tongue and cheeks can also be hurt while playing sports, the UAB team said.

The best way to protect the mouth and teeth during sports is to wear a mouthguard, says Dr. Ken Tilashalski, associate dean for academic affairs at the UAB School of Dentistry. Mouthguards have been shown to reduce the risk of sports-related dental injury by 60 times, he said.

"Wearing a mouthguard reduces the chances of tooth fractures, tooth dislocations and soft tissue cuts," Tilashalski said in a university news release. "The guards also protect against jaw fractures and concussions by absorbing the energy of a traumatic blow to the chin."

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing custom mouthguards for the following sports: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling. Other experts include baseball and softball infielders on that list. They further recommend the mouthguard to be worn during all practices and competition.

There are basically three types of mouthguards to choose from:

·      Stock: These are preformed and ready to wear, but they may not fit well inside the mouth.

·      Boil and bite: These may be customized and molded to the mouth by softening in boiling water before biting down.

·      Custom-made: A dentist tailor-makes these mouthguards to fit an individual's mouth. These mouthguards provide the best fit and the highest level of protection.

"For my kids, I have chosen to use custom mouthguards as they fit and feel better, do not interfere with speech, and are essentially invisible," Tilashalski said. "Mouthguards need to be replaced as they wear down, and athletes in the tooth-forming years will have to have these replaced more often as the mouth grows and the teeth change."

These mouthguards vary in price and comfort, yet all provide some protection. According to the ADA, the most effective mouthguard should be comfortable, resistant to tearing, and resilient. A mouthguard should fit properly, be durable, easily cleaned, and not restrict speech or breathing.

After each use, rinse your mouthguard and store it in a hard container to prevent the buildup of germs, Tilashalski said. Players should also avoid chewing on their mouthguard to extend its life.

It is important to remember damaged teeth do not grow back. Protect your child’s teeth by making sure he or she wears a mouthguard during practice, competition or just out having fun in a sport where falls are common such as biking, skating and skateboarding.

Story sources: Mary Elizabeth Dallas, https://consumer.healthday.com/dental-and-oral-information-9/misc-dental-problem-news-174/mouthguards-key-defense-against-sports-related-injuries-716284.html

http://www.nationwidechildrens.org

Your Child

Lawn Mower Safety Rules Haven’t Prevented Kid's Injuries

2:00

Spring, summer and fall are the times of year when you are most likely to hear the monotonous hum of mower blades echoing throughout neighborhoods.

It’s often the first job a young boy or girl acquires to earn a little extra money, but lawn mowing can come with high risk of injuries when kids and parents don’t follow some simple guidelines.

Despite recommendations presented by AAP, the incidence of lawn mower-related injuries in children has remained unchanged over the last two to three decades.

From 2004-’13, an average of 9,351 youths ages 20 years and younger suffered lawn mower-related injuries each year, according to a review of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

About one-third of the wounds occurred in children younger than 12. Two age groups sustained the most injuries, 3 years old and 16 years old and predominately male.

Areas of the body most commonly injured involved hand/fingers ((30%), lower extremity (17%) and face/eye (14%). Amputations and fractures combined accounted for 12.5% of injuries and were more likely to require hospitalization.

Although the incidence of injuries caused by ride-on mowers was 2.5 times higher than those caused by walk-behind mowers, the type of mower was not specified in over 70% of cases, making a true determination of relative risk nearly impossible.   

While fractures and amputations are the most dramatic injuries, they certainly are not the only ones reported. An analysis of NEISS data from 1990-2004 showed the majority of lawn mower injuries were cuts, other soft-tissue injuries and burns.

Also reported in the study were foreign body injuries. It’s hard to imagine, but the rotation of the blades on a typical 26-inch riding lawn mower is similar to the energy required to fire a bullet through the engine block of an automobile, according to the authors. The force certainly is enough to impale objects into a child’s body, even from a good distance away.  

The AAP warns that kids and parents should be aware of the precautions one should take before and during mowing to keep everyone safer.

Here are some mower-safety tips from the AAP:

•       Before learning how to mow the lawn, your child should show the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires. Kids should be at least 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely and 16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely.

•       Children should be supervised until you are sure he or she can handle the job alone.

•       Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes with slip-proof soles, close-fitting clothes, safety goggles or glasses with side shields, and hearing protection.

•       Watch for objects that could be picked up and thrown by the mower blades, as well as hidden dangers. Tall grass can hide objects, holes or bumps. Use caution when approaching corners, trees or anything that might block your view.

•       If the mower strikes an object, stop, turn the mower off, and inspect the mower. If it is damaged, do not use it until it has been repaired.

•       Do not pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.

•       Use extra caution when mowing a slope.

•       When a walk-behind mower is used, mow across the face of slopes, not up and down, to avoid slipping under the mower and into the blades.

•       With a riding mower, mow up and down slopes, not across, to avoid tipping over.

•       Keep in mind that lawn trimmers also can throw objects at high speed.

•       Remain aware of where children are and do not allow them near the area where you are working. Children tend to be attracted to mowers in use.

Stop the engine and allow it to cool before refueling. Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before:

•       Crossing gravel paths, roads or other areas

•       Removing the grass catcher

•       Unclogging the discharge chute

•       Walking away from the mower

Some of the most heartbreaking accidents occur when small children – even infants- are allowed to “ride along” while their parents or grandparents are using a riding mower or small tractor.  U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics show that each year, 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors and more than 600 of those incidents result in amputation; 75 people are killed, and 20,000 injured; one in five deaths involves a child. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers. Never allow a child on a lawn mower or small tractor while you’re using it.

Mowing can be fun, a good source of income for adolescents and a help to families; so make sure to give an ounce of prevention to avoid having to receive a pound of cure.  

Story sources: http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/08/11/LawnMowers081116

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Lawnmower-Safety.aspx

Your Child

ATV Accidents Causing Serious Chest Injuries in Kids

1:45

From rural America to the suburbs, you can count on the sound of children and their new ATV buzzing up and down the street on Christmas morning. All-terrain vehicles are a popular gift during the holidays, and more often than not, you’ll see children with a safety helmet on to reduce the risk of head trauma – should they have an accident.

What parents may not know is that these vehicles also pose a high risk for severe chest injuries, according to a new study.

"I believe that many parents are unaware of how serious ATV-related injuries can be," said the study's author, Dr. Kelly Hagedorn, a radiology resident at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"Some parents view ATVs as being more similar to bicycles. However, many of the injury patterns are more similar to those sustained in motor vehicle collisions," Hagedorn explained.

ATVs are motorized recreational vehicles with three or four tires, designed for off-road use. Because they can weigh 300 to 400 pounds and travel at speeds of up to 75 miles an hour, ATVs can often be involved in serious accidents, including crashes, rollovers and ejections, the researchers said.

The good news is that ATV-related injuries have declined since 2007. As public safety awareness about ATVs increases, more parents are making sure that helmets, protective clothing and personal oversight safeguard their children.

However, nearly 25,000 children under the age of 16 were treated for ATV-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms nationwide in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Researchers suspect that one of the reasons children’s ATV-related chest injuries are becoming more severe and frequent is that the newer vehicles are larger and weigh more than their predecessors. 

"As ATVs have gotten bigger and heavier, riders have a harder time separating from the vehicle in a crash," said Gerene Denning. She's director of emergency medicine research at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

"The increasing size and weight of ATVs leads to more cases of the vehicle striking the rider. There is also a growing trend of riders being pinned by the vehicle, which can lead to compression asphyxia [a condition where the body doesn't get enough oxygen]," said Denning, who wasn't involved in this study.

The new study included records from 455 patients, 18 years old and younger. All had chest imaging at a trauma center in Houston after ATV-related incidents. The accidents occurred between 1992 and 2013. Of those admitted, 102 (22%) suffered a chest injury.

The researchers said that 40% of patients with chest injuries were treated in an intensive care unit (ICU), compared to 22% of patients without chest injuries. On average, patients with chest injuries were 13 years old.

The most common chest injury (61%) was pulmonary contusion, or bruising of the lung. About 45% of patients had a collapsed lung and 34% had rib fractures. Eight deaths occurred among the 102 patients who had chest trauma, the study found.

The study authors found that the biggest cause of chest injury was rollover (43%), followed by collision with landscape (2 %) and falls (16%).

In 41 cases, the injured child had been driving the ATV. In 33 cases, he or she had been riding along as a passenger. In the remaining 28 cases, it wasn't known whether the injured child was the driver or passenger.

While many parents are being more vigilant about ATV safety, some still believe bigger is better and are still allowing their children to operate adult-size vehicles.

"This increases both the risk of crashing and the severity of vehicle-related trauma," Denning said. "A group called Concerned Families for ATV Safety have story after story of children killed in ATV crashes. A common thread through those stories is a parent saying they didn't know how dangerous these vehicles were for their children."

ATV laws are not consistent nationwide. In many states, children younger than 16 can drive ATVs designed for adults, according to the CPSC. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under that age be prohibited from riding ATVs.

Hagedorn is scheduled to present the study results at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Concerned Families for ATV Safety, mentioned above, offers educational resources, news and ATV safety tips for parents. It also shares family stories of children injured or killed in an ATV accident. Their website is: http://www.cfatvsafety.org

Story source: Don Rauf, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/child-safety-news-587/atv-accidents-can-cause-serious-chest-injuries-in-children-717207.html

Your Child

Stuttering and Kids

1:45

Does your child stutter? If so, he or she is not alone. More than 70 million people worldwide stutter.  Many famous people have been stutters such as musician and singer, Ann Wilson, from the band Heart, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and actor and orator James Earl Jones, to name just a few.

Stuttering is a common communication disorder that affects more boys than girls. No one knows the exact cause of stuttering, but there are four factors that most likely contribute:

  • Genetics: About 60 percent of those that stutter have a family member that stutters.
  • Neurophysiology: People that stutter may process speech and language slightly differently than those who do not stutter.  Stroke, head trauma or any other type of brain injury can also contribute to stuttering.
  • Child development: Developmental stuttering occurs in young children while they are still learning speech and language skills. It is the most common form of stuttering. Some scientists and clinicians believe that developmental stuttering occurs when children’s speech and language abilities are unable to meet the child’s verbal demands.
  • Family dynamics: Pressure, tension, fast paced lifestyles and stress within the family unit can make it difficult for a child to communicate.

There’s no miracle cure for stuttering but there are therapies that, over time, can help children and teens make significant progress towards fluency.

It’s important to remember that it’s normal for kids to stutter occasionally.

A child may stutter for a few weeks or several months, and the stuttering may be sporadic. Most kids, who begin stuttering before the age of 5, stop without any need for interventions such as speech or language therapy.

If your child is 5-years-old and still stuttering, you might want to have him or her tested by a speech pathologist or you can talk with your pediatrician for more information.

Kidshealth.org offers these tips for parents looking to help to help their child. How you communicate with your child when they stutter can have an important impact on how they see themselves.

  • Don't require your child to speak precisely or correctly at all times. Allow talking to be fun and enjoyable.
  • Use family meals as a conversation time. Avoid distractions such as radio or TV.
  • Avoid corrections or criticisms such as "slow down," "take your time," or "take a deep breath." These comments, however well intentioned, will only make your child feel more self-conscious.
  • Avoid having your child speak or read aloud when uncomfortable or when the stuttering increases. Instead, during these times encourage activities that do not require a lot of talking.
  • Don't interrupt your child or tell him or her to start over.
  • Don't tell your child to think before speaking.
  • Provide a calm atmosphere in the home. Try to slow down the pace of family life.
  • Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child or others in his or her presence.
  • Maintain natural eye contact with your child. Try not to look away or show signs of being upset.
  • Let your child speak for himself or herself and to finish thoughts and sentences. Pause before responding to your child's questions or comments.
  • Talk slowly to your child. This takes practice! Modeling a slow rate of speech will help with your child's fluency.

Many successful adults were stutterers when they were young, some - even into adulthood. However, they have persevered and with the support of others and therapies, have brought their stuttering under control. If your child stutters, it doesn’t mean they have a lifetime disability; many children grow out of stuttering. If you’re concerned about your child, talk with your pediatrician or family physician.

Story sources: http://www.stutteringhelp.org

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/stutter.html#

 

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