Do you have a child or know of a child that stutters? Here are tips for How to Help a Child that Stutters.
Parents of children who are at risk for developing a stutter should be on the lookout for three different indicators.
The first and second come from the child himself during his speech development: a repetition of whole words that progresses to a repetition of syllables and beginning letter sounds, and increasing frustration and hesitation in speaking. The third factor comes from adults’ own negative habits and attitudes toward a child’s verbal difficulty.
Once a child is identified as being at risk for this potentially debilitating disorder, there are small adjustments that parents can make in their own behaviors at home to supplement traditional speech therapy. These changes may improve a child’s language fluency and even halt stuttering in its path.
How to Help a Child That Stutters
Take Time to Actively Listen
Children go through talkative periods throughout the day and also times when they don’t feel like talking. Noting when a child typically desires communication and adjusting the schedule to provide active listening during those times will go a long way toward improving a child’s speech.
Making eye contact and stopping what one is doing to truly listen will send a message to the child that what he has to say is important.
Slow Down Speech
Parents and older siblings may have the habit of speaking very quickly, causing a child with emerging speech skills to be intimidated. Slowing down slightly, and even introducing natural pauses such as short hesitations or “ums” will make it easier for young children to participate in the conversation.
Decoding speech is a complex process that takes time, and children who are pressured to keep up with fast dialogue may experience more word stumbles.
Don’t Interrupt or Correct
When a child hesitates or stammers, the best thing a parent can do is wait very patiently for him to finish his thought. Interrupting, finishing the sentence for him, or correcting words will inevitably create more stress and may further diminish the child’s self-esteem.
Parents need to demonstrate that there is no pressure on the child to speak faster or without flaw. It is also important to remain calm and nonjudgmental while the child is talking.
Set Aside Daily Positive Together Time
Days bustling with frantic activity will put unnecessary strain on everyone. Periods of stress-free together time engaging in something the child enjoys will establish opportunities for parents to give positive, one on one praise and attention. Even as little as fifteen minutes at the same time daily can produce a host of desired results.
Children will face many difficult challenges along their lengthy path toward adulthood. Stuttering may not need to be one of them. By slowing down the pace at home, parents can make a huge difference in their efforts to help improve a child’s verbal skills and ultimately ward off a devastating disability.>> Click here to sign up for my email list and get access to my FREE printable library!