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"My talking is bumpy."
"The words get stuck."
"My tongue stumbles."
"My brain goes faster than my mouth."

These are some of the things that kids say when they describe how it feels to stutter. In other words, they know what they want to say, but the words just don't come out smoothly. For kids who have other kinds of speaking problems, certain sounds are difficult. Correctly saying a letter like "s" or "r" might be their challenge. These may be the kinds of problems that you or a friend or classmate has with speaking.

But whatever the speech problem, there is help available. Just like in sports, there are skills you can learn and practice. Then, whether it's going for the lay-up or reading aloud in class, you'll be able to face the situation with more confidence! Keep reading to learn about stuttering and speech problems, how they are treated, what kids who have them can do, and more.

What Are Stuttering and Speech Problems?
As human beings, we have the special ability to share our thoughts by talking. We start by forming a thought in our brains. In the brain, this thought is changed into a code we've learned called language. (Depending on where you're from, this language could be English, Spanish, Japanese, or one of thousands of others.) Finally, the brain sends a message to the muscles, telling them to move and make the right sounds come out. Then the mouth, face, neck, tongue, and throat muscles move into motion.

Sometimes this process doesn't work perfectly, though. There might be an interruption or break in the flow of speech. This interruption is called a disfluency (say: dis-floo-en-see).

Now and then, everyone has trouble getting words out. It's normal to stumble over a word or two every once in a while.
Disfluency becomes a speech problem, though, when it gets in the way of everyday talking and is noticeable to other people. It can make it hard to get thoughts out. It can also cause a lot of embarrassment or frustration for the person who's talking.

Stuttering and lisping are types of speech problems. Kids who stutter will repeat a word or a sound or drag out part of a word. Kids who lisp have trouble saying either their "s's" or their "z's" correctly.


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