Sarah Shiovitz, M.S., SLP
Stuttering...And How to Help
Talking to people can be hard if you stutter.
You may get stuck on certain words or sounds.
You may feel tense or uncomfortable.
You might change words to avoid stuttering.
Around five percent of children go through a period of stuttering that lasts for six months or more. While most children recover with help, approximately one percent of kids have longer term stuttering difficulties. Stuttering typically begins between the ages of two and six and significantly more boys stutter than girls.
There are 3 main types of stuttering difficulties. These include blocks, when you have a hard time getting a word out (e.g., "I want a ...... cookie"), prolongations, when you stretch a sound out for a long time (e.g., "cooooooooooookie"), and repetitions, when you repeat parts of words (e.g., "co-co-co-cookie"). Although there is no cure for stuttering, speech therapy can help a lot, along with several strategies to utilize at home.
Ways to help your child manage his or her stuttering include:
1. Remember that modeling your own easy relaxed speech will help! Slow yourself down and try to stay away from advice like “slow down” or “try it again slowly.”
2. Try to up your "undivided listening" game.
3. Work on asking one question at a time instead of a series of questions.
4. Practice turn taking when speaking in groups or with family.
5. Use descriptive, labelled praise (e.g. I really like how you listened to me when I spoke to you just now) to build confidence and encourage a repetition of positive behaviors.
For more information about stuttering, visit ASHA and The Stuttering Foundation.