Stuttering may be a lifelong part of talking for some, but that does not mean that it has to interfere with other aspects of life. If you are the parent of a child who stutters, it can be a difficult decision whether to introduce your child to a speech therapist. Some parents may be concerned that therapy will increase the child’s awareness of the stuttering and have a negative effect, or they may be wondering if they need to wait and see if the stutter fades away.
Many children will outgrow their stutter on their own, without speech therapy. However, if a child has been stuttering for longer than a year, it is likely that the stutter will be permanent. There are no definitive guidelines about the best time to start therapy, but most speech-language pathologists recommend starting therapy within six to 12 months after first noticing a stutter in your child’s speech. All children can benefit from therapy, although the outcomes can be different for different children.
Goals of Stuttering Therapy
The goals of stuttering therapy for children consist of making speaking easier as well as developing healthier attitudes and feelings about speaking. Developing healthier attitudes and feelings about speaking is achieved through learning to respond to speaking situations with less anxiety. Children should also work on their ability to become more confident in their ability to use speech tools and problem-solving skills in difficult speaking situations. It is important for them to know that if they stutter, it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Helping a Child Who Stutters
Set aside a few minutes each day to give undivided attention to your child, allowing them to choose what they would like to do during that slot of time. Let them direct the activities. When you speak during this time, use slowed, relaxed speech with pauses. This can help build confidence and allow the child to feel more comfortable talking. In other instances, speak with your child unhurriedly. Consider pausing frequently and waiting a few seconds after they finish speaking before you respond. This is much more effective than giving advice like “slow down” or “take a breath.”
SpeechEasy is a combination of proven technology and techniques which can be used to reduce stuttering. Worn in one ear and similar in appearance to a hearing aid, SpeechEasy has helped thousands increase their ability to communicate effectively and confidently. The program that comes with every SpeechEasy is supported by a team of fluency professionals who truly care about your success. Contact us today!