How to Help a Child that Stutters

How to Help a Child that Stutters

Every child struggles from time to time with speech and can repeat a word a few times in a row until it begins to sound like a stutter. Don’t be alarmed when your child is learning how to speak and isn’t speaking quite as well as your niece or nephew. Children begin talking at different times. Some start to utter a word at quite a young age but while some children may speak full sentences at 15 months, others might not start talking after age 2. Remember to constantly talk to your child even while they are in the womb. Studies have shown that a child will recognize his or her’s parent’s voice at birth.

Why do children stutter?  

No one has the answer to why a child may stutter. Some researchers think there is a glitch in the child’s brain that could interfere with the normal timing and rhythm of speech. Sometimes stuttering runs in families and boys are four times more likely to stutter than girls. This has nothing to do with your child’s intelligence or any psychological problems. A huge change in a child’s life can often be the cause for stuttering.

Tips for improvement of stuttering

First, your child will need your understanding and support.  Use eye contact and speak slowly and pronounce your words correctly, so your child will learn to slow down. Sometimes we as parents speak too fast and our child might not fully understand what we are saying. Be relaxed when talking to your child. Set aside some time each day for a small conversation with your child. Listen to your child and never criticize.

Should I tell my child’s teacher?  

You can always arrange a meeting if you feel uncomfortable about your child’s stuttering. Most teachers have experience with stuttering children but you can also ask your child’s teacher to listen to some suggestions that you use at home. This is always positive input for a new teacher because this helps your child’s teacher begin to know your child. The last thing a child wants is any special treatment to make the child stand out, however; you can always suggest extra reading assignments so your child may read out loud at home to improve their speech.

Does my child need a therapist?  

You can always schedule an appointment with a speech therapist if you think your child needs help with stuttering.  The therapist will give you an evaluation and most schools do have speech therapists on board and this is something you can discuss with your child’s teacher.  The main goal of any therapist is to focus on your child to help them become more relaxed. This is a good way for your child to start to speak slower with one on one therapy.  You then can practice some of this therapy at home without your child having some anxiety about speaking slowly. 80 percent of children that stutter will stop stuttering by age 16.  If your child were to stutter longer, you can still keep working on improving their speech.