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Children's Health

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How to Help a Stuttering Child

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Treatment for Stuttering

Many parents are reluctant to seek speech therapy for their stuttering child because they don't want to increase their child's self-consciousness about the speech disorder. Experts agree that if your child is over age 3 and has been stuttering for three to six months, you should probably seek a speech evaluation. That's because your stuttering child may have more than a temporary developmental problem. Find a speech therapist who specializes in stuttering. The therapist can help you decide whether or not your child needs intervention.

Most children with prolonged stuttering can benefit from speech therapy. In some cases, the problem is completely eliminated; in other cases, it gets much better. Whatever the final outcome, speech therapy should boost your child's confidence as he or she learns to manage stuttering and improve speaking skills.

Tips for Parents of a Stuttering Child

Parents can have an enormous effect on how the stuttering child views his disorder and how comfortable he feels in his ability to express himself and to be heard by those around him. Here are some steps you can take to help your stuttering child:

  • Try to speak slowly and calmly to your stuttering child. Encourage the other adults in your child's life to do the same.
  • Try to maintain a calm, quiet atmosphere at home.
  • Pay attention to what your child is saying, not the way he is saying it. This will require you to slow down and pay attention. Don't show impatience or irritation when your child is talking to you.
  • Don't offer suggestions such as, "Slow down," or "Can you say that more clearly?"
  • Minimize questions and interruptions when your child is speaking.
  • Never call attention to your child's stutter or other speech disorder.
  • Try to make time each day for one-on-one time with your child.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on May 24, 2014
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