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  • Lori Melnitsky

Families of Children Who Stutter: Your Support Really Matters:

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

As a mother to two older daughters, one who stuttered briefly as a young child and the other who has ADHD and dyslexia, I understand the worry parents experience. My husband was given a gift. He might worry but falls asleep in two seconds. I worry 24 hours plus a day.

The most important thing to most parents is that our kids are happy, safe and loved. Communication is key to relationships and friendships. Many parents will make immense sacrifices so their children excel and proceed. Without communication, we cannot be heard.

As a speech pathologist who stuttered severely and experienced my own internal battles with stuttering, I want to share tips to help families support their children who stutter.

Supporting individuals who stutter and their families is crucial for fostering understanding, communication, and a positive speaking environment.

1 . Education and Awareness:

Learn about Stuttering/Talk to Stuttering Specialists: Families should educate themselves to understand stuttering better. Only a few speech pathologists truly understand stuttering, so it's important to find someone who specializes in it.

Increase Awareness: Encourage families to share information about stuttering with friends, relatives, and teachers to create a supportive community.

2. Communication Strategies:

Encourage Active Listening: Explain to family members to listen actively and patiently without interrupting. This can help reduce the pressure on the person who stutters.

Maintain Eye Contact: Encourage eye contact during conversations to convey attentiveness and support.

3. Create a Supportive Environment:

Promote Open Communication: Foster an environment where the person who stutters feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment.

Avoid Finishing Sentences: Allow those who stutter to complete their sentences without interruption.

4. Seek Professional Help/Speech Therapy:

Encourage families to explore speech therapy options with qualified speech-language pathologists. Speech therapy with stuttering specialists can provide tailored strategies to manage stuttering.

5. Build Confidence:

Highlight Strengths: Focus on the individual's strengths and accomplishments rather than dwelling on the stuttering. This helps build confidence and self-esteem. Be positive. Stuttering is not who we are.

6. Set Realistic Goals:

Work with the person who stutters and the clinician to set achievable small step-by-step communication goals, celebrating successes along the way.

For more information, email

Please follow us on Instagram @ allislandspeech_

Lori Melnitsky is a published author and stuttering specialist and works with over 30 people who stutter each week. Her private practice has been nominated for Best Speech Pathologist on Long Island five years in a row.


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