Monday, June 18, 2018

3 Ways to Help Your Child Who Stutters

If you have recently noticed that your child tends to stutter when speaking, don’t be alarmed. Most often this is a temporary condition which improves naturally with age. Typically, children between the ages of two and five may have a short period of time when they seem to stammer or stutter, but it is usually short-lived because they are simply ‘killing time’ vocally while looking for the right word. Remember, this is the time when kids begin to develop their language skills. If you feel that this is more than a temporary situation and are looking for way to help your child overcome stuttering, here are three ways you can help.


1. Don’t Be Alarmed

The one thing you should do is not be alarmed if you notice your child stammering. It helps to know that more than three million Americans stutter, some mildly and some severely. However, for the most part, kids will outgrow this phase in language development and few will carry stuttering forward into adulthood. It is also important to understand that stress is one of the leading causes of stuttering in adults, so if you are alarmed and your child picks up on it, you could be stressing them to the point of exacerbating the situation. Be calm and patient and only ask them to repeat what they were trying to say if you really can’t understand them. Yes, you can work with them to slow down their speaking patterns but stressing them is never good.

2. Utilize Tools to Help Them Stutter Less

Since we are living in the age of the computer and the Information Highway (Web), why not look for an app that makes you stutter less? Of course, this is not something you would use with younger, pre-school children, but it is a handy tool to use with older kids. For younger kids, try singing with them. Speech therapists often start by singing with kids and then working down to a monotone. Music is controlled in the right hemisphere of the brain and so the brain can learn to reroute speech to new areas, which enable the stutterer to speak almost stutter-free. This type of therapy is usually utilized when there is neurological damage to the left hemisphere, only scientists really don’t know how or why this is.

3. Contact a Speech Therapist If Necessary


As your child grows older and the stuttering doesn’t improve, you may want to consider consulting with a speech therapist. These professionals have been trained in working with kids who stutter and are best able to use proven techniques that help. From working with right-brain activities to helping them focus on what they want to say before opening their mouth to speak, therapists can often accomplish what parents are ill-equipped to deal with.

Remember, above all stay calm! Children pick up on their parents’ emotions and that can trigger a heightened stuttering event. They want to please you and quickly sense your frustration, which can have devastating events on both stuttering and their ability to recover. Most often stuttering in children is temporary, so take heart in this and go slowly when working with your child. As the old adage goes, “Easy does it.”

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