When a child stutters, it can be a frustrating and concerning time for him or her, as well as for his or her family. In addition to helping your child manage the verbal difficulties of his or her stuttering, it’s important to help him or her ease the stress that comes with the speech disorder. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating a stutter since the condition is so varied. However, there are some common tips that we at the Speech Therapy Centres of Canada have found effective for the clients we’ve seen at both our Whitby and Toronto locations. When looking to help your stuttering child become a more confident speaker, consider any of the following methods.
If your child is around preschool age, there is a possibility that his or her stuttering is a temporary phase of dysfluency that many children go through as they learn how speech and sounds work together. Bringing your child to a speech-language pathologist (S-LP) for an assessment can help you determine whether his or her stutter is something he or she can grow out of or if it is likely to be a more persistent condition. In either instance, the S-LP can often recommend more specific speech therapy strategies and techniques after meeting with your child personally.
Respect Their Pace
It can be frustrating for children with a stutter to have a communication issue. In order to help ease these feelings and to encourage your child to continue talking, it’s important to respect his or her talking pace. Try to resist attempting to finish your child’s sentences—even if you guess correctly, it can still be off-putting and discouraging. Don’t interrupt even if you think you understand what he or she means or intends; it’s important for your child’s confidence that he or she is allowed to finish speaking. Focus and respond to what is being said instead of how it is being spoken. Perhaps most importantly, make sure that you react and respond naturally to what your child says. Children are very observant. If they notice that you are treating them differently because of how they speak, it can make them feel self-conscious.
Speak With Their Teacher
Your child’s teacher spends the most time with your child next to yourself. As a result, the teacher is going to play an important role in how your child views his or her stutter. It’s important to speak with the teacher and make sure he or she understand the tips mentioned above. In addition, stuttering often comes with both “good” and “bad” days where the stutter varies in intensity. Make sure the teacher knows that if your child is having a bad stuttering day, it may be best not to call on him or her as often as they would on a good day.
Like any speech disorder, stuttering benefits most from early intervention. By taking steps to make your child more comfortable with his or her voice early in life, you can encourage he or she to be a more sociable and voluntary speaker. The Toronto and Whitby offices of the Speech Therapy Centres of Canada have no wait times and our S-LPs strive to foster a supportive, friendly environment for your child during his or her speech therapy. Click here to contact us for scheduling an assessment or simply to learn more about how our programs can help your child gain the confidence and skills to live comfortably with his or her stutter.