The support of parents, friends and teachers is fundamental for the development of the child with a dysfluency such as stuttering. Apart from the professional help provided by speech language pathologists or SLPs, a parent can help their kids immensely too.
Stuttering is the most common dysfluency; a speech disorder that consists of an alteration of verbal rhythm and fluency, characterized by unwanted repetitions of syllables, words or phrases, accompanied by spasmodic interruptions of conversation, which cause distress and are difficult to control.
Parents should first learn what stuttering is; it is a speech issue that people have and the way we can help them is by giving them time, not interrupting them, not being annoyed, not completing sentences and not challenging them.
Whenever a person with dysfluency speaks, it is advised to look them in the eye and wait for their turn to speak. These are fundamental guidelines to work on at home and at school. Something very important that should not happen is to make fun of people with stuttering.
It is important to work both at home and at school on values, respect and acceptance of others speech delays and speech impediments.
Specialized help is also needed in most cases as the sooner the issue is addressed, the better the chances of it succeeding are. Children who get speech therapy have a better chance of overcoming their speech difficulties than children who don’t get specialized care.
However, specialized care should always be complemented by parents. Below are 15 tips to help your child with dysfluency that should apply to everyone.
- Avoid correction when the child speaks.
- Avoid criticism, teasing, or punishment.
- Do not try to help him/her to complete the word he/she wants to transmit.
- Give him all the time he needs to speak.
- Do not make a frightened face or show impatience when talking to the child.
- Encourage and foster a climate of communication.
- Share and play non-directive games with the child.
- Tell stories and strive to communicate more.
- Acknowledge the problem and how difficult it is.
- Correct only in very specific cases, but in a positive way.
- Provide a relaxed atmosphere at home, which stimulates the speech of the child with stuttering.
- Listen attentively to the child.
- Talking slowly with the child can help him/her to speak in the same way.
- If the child brings up the topic of stuttering, talk to him about his/her problem.
- Take your child to a professional speech language pathologist to help them overcome the stuttering.