Parents learn about language development and how to respond
positively to their child's mild
stuttering through initial counseling from a
pediatrician, family doctor, or
Some degree of stuttering is normal in young children. Most often
stuttering in early childhood is known as normal disfluency, and it gradually
resolves on its own. As with learning to walk or mastering any new skill,
language acquisition includes periods of stumbling or awkwardness. How you
react to your child's stuttering can influence whether social and emotional
problems develop. Normal disfluency is less likely to become a more permanent
condition when a child has healthy self-esteem and can avoid feeling anxious
about his or her speech.
Counseling can help you to learn appropriate responses to your
child's stuttering, which is important whether the stuttering resolves on its
own or not. Counseling can help you learn to react in positive ways to your
child's irregular speech patterns. Counselors often suggest ways to:
Stay calm and maintain an accepting attitude
toward your child. This often includes using positive body language for times
when he or she struggles with a word. Criticizing, showing impatience or
annoyance, or saying things such as, "Take a breath and slow down!" do not help
your child. You want to foster your child's confidence and reduce stress or
tension while he or she speaks.
Slow down your own speech, and use
short and simple sentences. This can be harder than it sounds. Fast-paced
lifestyles and habits often affect speech without you being aware. A counselor
can guide you in how to help your child focus on one issue at a time, such as
by keeping your questions to a minimum during conversations.
your child some control. Schedule a quiet time each day to talk with your
child. This time should not include any speech corrections. It should be a calm
period with relaxed conversation. Your child may not even want to talk much
during this time, which is fine. Let him or her direct the activities.
Severe stuttering or stuttering that becomes worse or does not
improve after 6 weeks of applying initial counseling techniques may require
additional treatment. Other approaches, such as exploring your child's feelings
about stuttering, may help.
It may also help your child to work with a speech pathologist along
with applying techniques you have learned in counseling.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Robert M. Kroll, BsC, MSc, PhD - Speech Pathology
August 13, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 13, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this