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help your child with stuttering

Stuttering-How to Help Your Child at Home

 

 

 

When you first notice your child stuttering, it can be very worrisome. Will he grow out of it? Should I take him for a speech-language evaluation? Why is it happening? First, let’s look at what is typical versus atypical stuttering in young children.

Typical

  • During language development, young children occasionally repeat syllables or words one to two times. For example, “I, I want to play.”
  • Children may hesitate when speaking and use fillers such as “um”, “er”, “uh”.
  • Disfluencies come and go. Your child may stutter for a week and then it goes away completely. This is an indication that your child is learning to use language in different ways.

Atypical

  • Syllables, words, or sounds are repeated more than once or twice. For example, “I, I, I, I want to play” or “I w-w-w-want to play”.
  • Your child starts their utterances with fillers (“uh”, “um”, “er”) versus using them withing her sentence. For example, “Um, um, uh, I want to play.”
  • You may notice tension in your child’s facial muscles and/or neck.
  • Your child may experience a “block” – this is when your child attempts to say something, though there is no airflow or voice for a few seconds.
  • Disfluencies may continue to come and go; however they are more present than absent.

Whether you feel your child’s stuttering is typical or atypical, there are several strategies that you can use at home to promote fluent speech:

1. Model, reinforce, and praise healthy conversation skills during 2-3 structured times per day. Healthy conversation skills include:

  • Encouraging “thinking time” to increase time needed for language formulation
  • Speaking at normal to slow normal rate to model easy, relaxed speech.  Easy, relaxed speech: elongated vowels in words, smooth transitions between words, and lots of pauses between sentences.

2. Reduce the quantity of talking to ease the pace of communication and allow your child to take his time in formulating what he wants to say.

3. Try not to pressure your child with questions. Instead, comment on what he is doing.

4. During moments of disfluency:

  • Continue to allow your child to finish his thought/idea
  • Rephrase his thought/idea back to him using easy, relaxed speech.

5. Reinforce communication by praising your child’s attempts at communication. For example, “I like the way you told me that!”

6. Avoid commenting on “bumpy” consistency of speech disfluency.  Instead, model more fluent speech and healthy ways to communicate.  Reinforce what is going well.

Click here to download your free stuttering and fluency checklist!

When is Stuttering Normal?

Stuttering or non-fluent speech productions are quite common to hear during speech and language development in children when stuttering childthey are between the ages of two and six. At this time, the amount of new language that children are taking in is so vast that several theories suggest that it overwhelms the body’s speaking mechanism and, consequently, the child exhibits “stuttering”.

Stuttering may take many forms. The most common stuttering is full- and part-word repetitions (ex: “Can-can-can I go?” or “Ca-ca-candy for me”). Less common errors include prolongations (“ssssssssssounds like this”) or silent blocks in which sound is not released and tension in the face/neck may be present.

The facts are as follows: 50% of stuttering toddlers will spontaneously catch-up with their peers without therapy. Many more children than that will make a complete recovery into fluency. A small percentage of these children may continue to stutter throughout their entire life.

In order to determine if your child requires a speech-language evaluation for stuttering, here are some red flags that indicate an “at-risk” child:

  • Any family history of speech/language/fluency disorders Read more

11 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Speech Fluency

Parents play key roles in modeling healthy ways to communicate in everyday situations. By knowing what to do inBoy on phone your own talking during certain scenarios, you can transition highly disfluent times to be more successful conversations. In doing this, you will be teaching and reinforcing healthy conversational skills during daily activities. The following conversational suggestions are not meant to replace therapy, but to compliment your child’s individual treatment plan.

11 Tips to Increase Speech in Your Child

  1. Use eye contact. Eye contact is a great conversational tool for many reasons. When you are modeling eye contact while your child is talking, you are communicating that you are listening. By using eye contact when you are talking, you are showing your child that watching someone’s face when they talk is important. In a peer situation, your child will be better able to hold his conversational turn with sustained eye contact (especially if he “gets stuck”) because other children are less likely to jump in and finish for him. The best way to elicit eye contact from your child is to model it yourself and to reinforce it when you notice it (“Great job watching my face while you told me about that!”) as compared to asking the child to “look at you.” Read more