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  • Lori Melnitsky

Parents: Helping the child who stutters?

What You Can Do to Help a Child Who Stutters?

Stuttering is a communication disorder that disrupts the flow of speech. It significantly impacts the ability of a child to communicate effectively. When is public settings like events and school, this can eventually lead to affecting the self-esteem and reduced self-confidence of children. Every child wants to be like their peers, but stuttering communication becomes a challenge. Slowly, you’ll notice that stuttering in children leads to avoiding conversations and people. There are little but impactful things you can do to help your children get better in communication and overcome the challenges of stuttering.

How to Help a Child Who Stutters?

Here are some ways to improve confidence and build self-esteem by helping your child who stutters.

Slower speech helps children with stuttering issues.

You’ll notice that children often stutter more when they get excited or upset or when they are under pressure of time. Slowing down the pace of conversation will reduce the sense of competition and time pressure. It makes your child believe that it is alright to have a slower rate of speech.  Let them answer and give them time to speak stuttering or not.

Practice a conversational wait time

As a parent, practice a two-second pause after your child stops talking, and before you start with a response. Also, it is important to showcase your interest in conversation with gestures like nodding your head and sounds of affirmation. This  helps your child understand that it’s fine to take time to put thoughts into words and make communication more relaxing.

Show interest in communication

When your child is trying to have a conversation with you, it’s important to show him or her that you are interested and invested in it as much as they are. Always have a positive and acknowledging expression on your face and never rush them or put them under the pressure of time.

Encourage having family conversations

The family dinner table is a great place to practice such conversations. Give everyone on the table a chance to put forth their point without being interrupted. Don’t complicate the conversation or stress them out with many questions.

Have daily routines

Stuttering in children occurs more when they are stressed, tired, or sick. Hence, you must have a daily routine for your child to ensure they get enough rest and nutrition.

As a parent, it’s imperative to let your children know that you understand their trouble with speech. You should also encourage them to express their feelings and concerns about how they feel with stuttering. Stuttering issues are noticeable from the age of two. With the help of Speech-Language Pathologist and different treatments, many children will grow out of stuttering issues.

As a licensed speech and language pathologist with over 25 years of experience, I have helped children, teens, and adults overcome stuttering issues in their communication. I understand there are many children and parents who are looking for more guidance and a way to interact with a community of people with similar concerns. Hence, I have created a group called – The Stuttering Connection. The objective of this group is to encourage online interaction amongst children and teens who stutter and support each other while bonding over common interests

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