[The following information was retrieved from the Stuttering Foundation, http://www.stutteringhelp.org]

What should I do when my child stutters?

The most important thing to do when someone is stuttering is be a good communicator yourself.

  • Keep eye contact and give your child enough time to finish speaking.
  • Try not to fill in words or sentences.
  • Let your child know by your manner and actions that you are listening to what she says-not how she says it.
  • Model wait time - taking two seconds before you answer a child's question - and insert more pauses into your own speech to help reduce speech pressure.

Try not to make remarks like "slow down," "take a deep breath," "relax," or "think about what you're going to say, then say it." We often say these things to children because slowing down, relaxing, or thinking about what we are going to say helps us when we feel like we're having a problem tripping over our words. Stuttering, though, is a different kind of speaking problem and this kind of advice is simply not helpful to someone who stutters.

Should I remind my child to use his stuttering therapy techniques?

Unless your child or the speech-language pathologist specifically asks you to help by reminding, it may be best not to do it.

In therapy, children who stutter learn several different techniques, sometimes called speech tools, to manage their stuttering. However, learning to use these speech tools in different situations (e.g., the classroom, at home, with friends vs. the therapy room) takes considerable time and practice. Many children and teens who stutter do not have the maturity or skill to monitor their speech in all situations. Therefore, it may be unrealistic to expect your child to use her tools in other environments at all times.

What should I do when my child is having a difficult speaking day?

It's always best to check with your child about what he would like you to do on days when talking is more difficult.

Children and teens who stutter vary greatly in how they want their families, teachers, and peers to respond when they are having an especially difficult time talking. One child may prefer that his teacher treat him in the same way as she would any other day, by spontaneously calling on him or asking him to read aloud.

On the other hand, another child may want his teacher to temporarily reduce her expectations for his verbal participation, by calling on him only if his hand is raised or allowing him to take a pass during activities such as round-robin reading.

Video - Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents

(Video produced by the Stuttering Foundation, retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2_mgt87g1Y)


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