Providing Treatment to Children Who Stutter
Over the last two weeks I posted information about how to know if your young child is truly stuttering or is simply in a normal phase of dysfluency that many experience as language skills develop. Today's post provides tools to help parents speak with their young child at home as well as tips to think about when therapy is necessary.
The following resources are ones that I use when sharing information with families when stuttering is their child's diagnosis:
- 7 Tips for Talking with Your Child - This is great resource for parents of young children who are showing early signs of stuttering. Click here to view a PDF handout.
- A Risk Factors Chart - This is an ideal resource for parents who have concerns about their child possibly stuttering. This chart provides a list of risk factors common in children who stutter
- If You Think Your Child Is Stuttering - "If your child has difficulty speaking and tends to hesitate on or repeat certain syllables, words, or phrases, he may have a stuttering problem. But he may simply be going through periods of normal dysfluency that most children experience as they learn to speak. This pamphlet will help you understand the difference between stuttering and normal language development." This pamphlet breaks the information into 3 groups: The normal dysfluent child, the child with a mild stutter and the child with a severe stutter. Excellent resource for parents to use at home!
In addition to implementing new strategies at home with your child, actual therapy with a speech-language pathologist may also be necessary. The Stuttering Foundation suggests that stuttering therapy for children usually means learning to talk in an easier manner, and to build positive emotions, and attitudes about talking. As a result, length and type of therapy can vary greatly depending on your child's needs. A list of sample therapy goals for children includes:
- Reducing the frequency of stuttering;
- Decreasing the tension and struggle of stuttering moments;
- Working to decrease word or situation avoidances;
- Learning more about stuttering; and,
- Using effective communication skills such as eye contact or phrasing.
Working together with a speech pathologist who is knowledgeable about stuttering will help your child learn to talk successfully and well.
If your child is under the age of five contact your local Early Intervention office to ask for and set up an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist. If your child is school age or attends a preschool, speak with your child's teacher and find out what resources they have available.
Lastly, on The Stuttering Foundation website is a list of summer camps that specifically address stuttering. The Stuttering Doesn't Take a Summer Break handout which is a list of Summer Camps can be found here.