Pediatric Stuttering Therapy
Individualized Support for Children Who Stutter
Build confidence & a positive mindset
Improve overall communication skills
Client-centered goals & personalized therapy
Evidence-based programs to achieve lasting success
Lori Melnitsky, MA, CCC-SLP has successfully treated hundreds of children and adults who stutter using specialized fluency programs developed to meet the needs of her clients. Lori's approach is to reduce stuttering and improve fluency while fostering a positive mindset towards communicating. Parent and family involvement is important for success, and time is dedicated to coaching, questions, and general family support.
Our clinic offers the Lidcombe Program for early childhood stuttering and customized programs for school-age children, teens, and adults who stutter.
Evaluations for Stuttering
We will begin with a free initial consultation to answer your questions and discuss your concerns regarding your child's communication. When an evaluation is recommended, we will use a combination of parent and client interviews, standardized assessment, observation, and dynamic test measures to develop a full picture of your child's skills and challenges. Following the evaluation, we will collaborate to develop a treatment plan and individualized goals.
Stuttering Therapy for School-Age Children - STEP UP TO FLUENCY
Step Up to Fluency is a 12-week structured fluency program that is customized for each child. Tools and strategies are taught to improve overall fluency, reduce struggles and decrease speaking fears. We will also address feelings that accompany stuttering and develop strategies to overcome difficult speaking situations. Clients experience increased confidence as well as more fluent speech.
Lidcombe Program for Early Childhood/Preschool Stuttering (ages 3 to 7)
The Lidcombe Program is a highly successful evidence-based behavioral treatment program that was designed for young children who stutter and their families. The objective of this program is to try and eliminate stuttering in young children in a fun, systematic, and structured manner. Parents are taught to work with their children daily to help their child speak more fluently.
The Lidcombe Program is ideal for children ages 2.5 to 8. During these early years, it is essential to address stuttering through a collaborative and structured approach with daily practice.
“I wanted to thank Lori for being such an amazing person and therapist for my daughter. Besides being fluent in the Lidcombe Program it changed my daughter’s whole personality. She is happy, confident, cheerful, sassy, and a very talkative 4-year-old."
- Stacy, daughter age 4, Howard Beach, NY
“Dear Lori: Thank you so much for helping me with my stuttering. You are an amazing speech therapist. Now I am in middle school. I am able to present, answer questions and even read aloud. Other therapists did not help me like you did. You changed my life! If I know anyone that stutters in the future I will recommend you to them. I’m sure that you will change their lives. Thank you for your hard work.”
- Sam W, age 12
Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Stuttering
What is stuttering?
Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by disruptions (disfluencies) in the normal flow of speech. Stuttering is an interruption of the continuous flow of speech. It can be characterized as prolongations (sssssssssnake), repetitions of words (I I I want milk) or phrases (I want I want milk), frequent use of filler words (uh, um), or blocking (silence and struggle before saying a word). People who stutter (PWS) often experience physical tension in the mechanisms used for speech production (lips, tongue, larynx, and jaw). Oftentimes, if left untreated, it causes embarrassment and fear of talking. Together these result in difficulty communicating effectively. Stuttering can negatively impact academics, careers, and social situations without the proper intervention.
What causes stuttering?
The exact cause of stuttering is unknown. It is known that more boys than girls stutter. There is often a genetic link in the family. It should be noted that parents and family members are not to blame if a child starts stuttering. Stuttering is not a psychological or “nervous” disorder. Although it is common advice to tell a PWS to slow down and take a deep breath, this advice can actually cause someone to stutter more.
At what age should we begin therapy?
Early intervention is vital. Most children begin stuttering between the ages of 2 ½ and 5. Research suggests that early intervention significantly increases a child's likelihood of eliminating stuttering. Once a child is older than age 7, it is difficult to eliminate stuttering completely, but fluency can be enhanced.
What can parents do if their child starts stuttering?
It is important to establish eye contact and let your child know you are listening to their message rather than how it is being conveyed. Don’t interrupt or finish their sentences. Try and slow down family members’ rate of speech by pausing often. Avoid telling a child to slow down or take a deep breath. Try and avoid questioning your child. This often creates demands on the child. It’s better to say things like, “I wonder how your day was” or ” I was thinking about how much I like your drawing”. This way the child answers when they are comfortable. Most importantly, contact a speech pathologist specializing in stuttering treatment immediately if your child starts stuttering. Sometimes one or two visits can teach you strategies to facilitate fluency in your home environment.
Should I get help for my preschooler who is stuttering?
Between the ages of 2 and 5, many children experience disfluencies in their speech. This is often considered a period of normal disfluencies. Why? One reason is that children are still coordinating their speech patterns and acquiring language during this stage. Will these children outgrow it? Some will but there is no way of knowing who will. It is essential to consult with a speech-language pathologist with expertise in treating children who stutter to discuss warning signs of beginning stuttering. The Lidcombe Program for early childhood stuttering is an effective approach used to train parents in working with their children to eliminate stuttering. If you are concerned that your child is stuttering, consult a speech pathologist with expertise in stuttering.
When should I get direct therapy for my school-aged child who stutters?
As the school year begins, many school-aged children who stutter will be frustrated at not being able to communicate with their peers or teachers. Once children reach the age of 6, the occurrence of outgrowing stuttering is rare At this point, a more direct therapy approach needs to be applied to change stuttering and improve fluency. Many school-aged children are discharged from speech therapy in school before they are able to effectively communicate and are still stuttering considerably. Children become very adept at hiding stuttering by avoiding feared words and not talking as much. Ask about our 8-12 week program to improve fluency.