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7 Childhood Conditions You Can Still Correct

It's never too late to fix that problem — a stutter, lazy eye, a crooked smile — that's bugged you since childhood.

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There are about a dozen intensive programs for stuttering in the United States and Canada, but they can be expensive. (Armes's cost about $3,500, only half of which was covered by insurance.) To find a center, go to stutteringhelp.org and click on Referrals, then on Intensive Clinics. You can also work with a local speech-language pathologist (SLP) either on an intense basis or for a few days each week for several months, says Diane R. Paul, Ph.D., of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (For a listing of SLPs, go to asha.org/findpro)

Breaking a lisp can be easier: Substituting the "th" sound for the "s" involves focusing on just one pattern. An SLP will diagnose faulty tongue positions and prescribe exercises.

If you haven't outgrown it, you can still put an end to...
Nail biting

Not surprisingly, women use this unconscious repetitive behavior (hair pulling is another) to shake off stress or boredom, says Fred Penzel, Ph.D., a psychologist in Huntington, NY. He advises adults to keep a log of when, where, and in what moods they're more likely to bite their nails, then find other ways to use their fingers during those times. Penzel's favorites: popping Bubble Wrap, manipulating Silly Putty, or playing with toothed hardware washers (their points stimulate the fingers). In addition, a 2011 Israeli study found that wearing a vinyl wristband can serve as a reminder of your desire to quit and help steel your resolve.

Sleepwalking

A just-released survey from the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center in California found that 29% of adults have walked in their sleep at least once in their lives and close to 3% do so regularly. First, you need to rule out medical causes, such as sleep apnea or medication side effects. Then, if none is found, you might want to try a treatment known as "anticipatory awakening": setting your alarm to rouse you a half hour before you typically wander, suggests John Villa, D.O., medical director of the Institute for Sleep-Wake Disorders at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. One or two sessions of hypnosis can also help, one study has found.

Original published on July 20, 2012

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