Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I have a disturbing dilemma to discuss with you because I’m hoping against hope that it is nothing to worry about, just another Covid glitch and that it will soon pass and need no further attention. But, I’m afraid my gut tells me otherwise.

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We have five children ranging in age from the eldest who is thirteen down to the youngest who is four, all in yeshivas and Bais Yaakov schools with the youngest one in playgroup. Our second eldest child, a girl aged seven, has reverted to stuttering, a condition she developed after a traumatic experience at a very early age (three years old) with a male cousin and for which she had been under a therapist’s care and a speech therapist’s care and, baruch Hashem, it went away. These last two years of the Covid makah has been very hard on her in particular. She couldn’t cope with the Zoom learning, couldn’t tolerate wearing the mask and didn’t understand the social distancing and being cut off from her beloved grandparents and friends.

When the schools opened again recently, she was terrified of going outside and back amongst her peers. This is when the stuttering started again. On top of everything else, the kids in her class began making fun of her, even imitating her and laughing and the teacher also admonished her for not speaking correctly. Now, she refuses to speak at all and she refuses to go back to school. We kept her home for a few days but she is not doing well at home either. What can we do to remedy this situation. We can’t afford the therapists again because our insurance will not cover it and needless to say, on just one income there’s no way we can pay out of pocket.

 

 

Dear Friend,

I’m so sorry to hear of your child’s suffering and the return of her stuttering. I am deeply disappointed that she was going through such hurtful events in her classroom and that the teacher lacked the sensitivity to respond correctly by admonishing the kids who ridiculed your child. It must have been horrible for your daughter to have to leave the safety of home and enter the dragon’s pit of torment from her cruel peers without anyone to defend or protect her.

These past two years of Covid-19 has been most damaging to children as well as to teens, who have accrued damaged social skill from corresponding with their peer via Zoom and phone. The level of damage, I fear, may never be fully rectified even though things seem to be opening up and the social distancing rules have been somewhat more relaxed. But, I’m thinking what caused you child’s backslide into her stuttering stems from her original trauma brought on by the harmful experience with her cousin. Although you did not go into detail about the experience, I am assuming it was physically abusive by nature and even a child as young as two years of age can retain memory of the experience and adopt abnormal behavior for lack of a way to express it verbally. I believe that stuttering was the avenue by which your child was expressing her fear and emotional pain over what was done to her.

Therapy may have been helpful but the fact that she reverted back into this pattern of behavior leads me to believe that perhaps she was removed from therapy too soon before the root cause was totally and completely addressed. These last two years served to reopen those old wounds and fears and caused her to regress into the pattern that was her original call for help. I strongly advise you to get her into therapy; Her school has affiliate programs that are covered if you apply for them.

That does not excuse the way she was dealt with in class by the other students, and especially by the way she was let down by the teacher.

Please don’t hesitate to speak to the teacher about the way this was handled and then apply for the help that is provided to the school by the government and made available for children who are eligible for therapy and tutoring based on the need.

Should you need any help in getting it, please reach out and I will be more than happy to advocate for you.

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