Must Know Speech Tips For Children Who Stammer

Must Know Speech Tips For Children Who Stammer

stuttering in children is a fluency disorder with stoppages and disruptions (dysfluencies) interrupting the smooth flow and timing of speech.

Onset of stammering is below five years of age in most children. In rare cases, the problem might extend to adulthood.

The common dysfluencies noted in children with stammering are

  • Repetitions – syllable, sound, word or phrase repetitions (Eg : “li-li-li-like that”)
  • Prolongations – holding onto a sound for an extended period of time (Eg : “llllike that”)
  • Blocks – when no sound is produced, then a “burst” of tension is released when the speaker is able to vocalize (Eg : “——like that”)
  • Interjections – adding extra words (Eg : “um, uh, like”)
  • Revisions – speech is revised during the utterance (Eg : “I have to go…I need to go to the shop”)
stuttering in children

Since stammering can greatly interfere with the child’s family, school and social interactions, it is important to focus on ways and methods that will improve the child’s fluency.

Certain tips that might help the child who stammers :

  • Take your time and do not rush while you speak
  • Speak slowly than usual
  • Feel free to say what you want to say. Do not feel hesitant or anxious
  • Relax and be patient with yourself while you speak. Your parents/teachers will wait for you to speak up
  • Before you start to speak, pause for a few seconds. Do not race to finish the sentence.

Stop overthinking

  • Don’t assume that you will stammer even before starting to speak. Because, sometimes it goes well. Anticipating anything might lead to stammering too.
  • Congratulate and treat yourself when you tried any right method to not stammer. This will help you boost your self confidence

   Eg : You can say “yayyy I spoke slowly, so I didn’t stammer” and have a chocolate when              you did it right

  • Relax and calm down when you speak a difficult word. Rushing words will only make them harder to say leading to stammering
  • Get enough sleep everyday. Inadequate sleep will get you tired and moody and you might tend to stammer more when you are tired
  • Try not to ‘bottle out’ of a situation frequently as it may hinder your self confidence. Rather, prepare yourself to face it and take the risk. This will make you feel good about yourself and will help you in various tough speaking situations
  • Talk about your stammering problem rather than keeping it a secret. Doing so, will help you get the right guidance and support to make you speak fluently sooner.

Advice for parents while talking with their child who stammers :

There are things that parents can do to help their child be as fluent as possible.

  • Reduce your pace – Speak in an unhurried way, pausing frequently.

Also, Model a slower rate of talking by following the below steps :

  • Add pauses
  • Take your time to reply
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Let them finish

stuttering in children

When you model this type of speaking to the children, they will follow your lead.

2. Don’t bombard the child with a series of questions. Specifically, avoid asking complicated questions. While questioning, ask one question at a time and provide ample time for the child to process the question and respond. Make sure the child has really finished answering before you ask or say anything else.

Also, Avoid asking open – ended questions such as “how was your day at school?” Since it leaves the child thinking which of the activities he had done that day is he gonna talk about first. This kind of a situation might make the child anxious and nervous and eventually lead to stammering.

3. Occasionally, change questions to statements.

Eg : Instead of asking “what did you have for lunch today?”, you can say “I had rotis and dal for lunch today. I wonder what you had for lunch”

4. Promptly listen to the child by giving eye-contact to let the child know that you are actually listening to what he/she is saying at the moment. You can interact by using facial expressions too (eg : laugh when he/she tries to crack a joke) to convey that you are interested in the conversation. This will help the child boost his/her confidence and not lead to anxiety.

 

                                           Coversation with your child

5. Boost the child’s confidence

Eg : When the child finished narrating a short story taking his own time, you can say “Excellent!! That was a lovely story! You really took the time to narrate the whole story so nicely!”

                                           Encourage your child

6. Spend one-on-one time with the child with undivided attention and less/no interruptions or dis- tractions (TV, PHONE etc). Even five minutes of your time with the child will make him feel special.

stuttering in children

Eg : Read a story book with the child everyday, play a game with the child

Read a story book with the child everyday

7. It is best to seek advice from a Speech Language Pathologist sooner rather than later, if you notice your child having fluency problem especially if there is a family history of stammering.

Please do share your comments below if you have tried these tips or any other tips that have helped you child overcome stammering.

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Sadhana Chandrababu
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