Helping Your Child Cope With Stuttering
“One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.”
– James Earl Jones (who suffered with a severe stutter as a child)
Stuttering. It’s not uncommon for children to experience moments or even stretches of time when they are less than completely fluent, repeating sounds, words, phrases or parts of words. Often, such experiences are minimal interruptions to the flow of daily conversation and living, which occur sporadically and naturally as a part of the child’s normal development.
As a parent, you’ll want to demonstrate an attitude of optimism and patience with your children. While it can be helpful for some children to be encouraged to “slow down” or “take your time” such suggestions may only frustrate others. A more helpful approach can be to slow your own speech, creating a more relaxed atmosphere and allowing sufficient pauses for your child to fully express himself.
For some children, stuttering or halting speech can become more pronounced, occur more frequently and last for longer periods of time. A child may have difficulty getting a sound out, may try to ‘push’ a sound, word or phrase out, or may seem frustrated at their inability to communicate. There are several things a parent can do to help, including:
• comment on what the child is saying rather than asking lots of questions, thus reducing the pressure on the child to communicate;
• focus more on what the child is saying, rather than on how they are saying it
• give your child your full attention when they speak to you, thus communicating your interest in what they have to say; and
• establish turn-taking during conversations, thus eliminating the pressure to rush through what they are trying to say.
No parent wants to see stuttering become a major issue in the life of a child. If you are concerned about your child’s ability to produce fluent speech, an assessment with a Speech-Language Pathologists can put your mind at rest and set your child on a path to greater fluency.
At S.L. Hunter & Associates, we have an entire team of highly skilled Speech-Language Pathologists who can assess and treat stuttering in people of all ages. Contact us to find out how we can help.
The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. To make an appointment, call 905-637-5522 or visit us online at www.slhunter.ca.