Tips for Parents with School-Aged Children Who Stutter

Just the other day, I was on the phone with a colleague with whom I share a client. We were brainstorming together about a stuttering packet with simple tips that we could send home to parents and teachers. I thought to myself, oh this will be perfect for the blog, won’t it? So, here we are.


The purpose of this post is to create a place to find helpful ideas, strategies and links for children who stutter. These tips are most beneficial for children around the age of 6, give or take a little because this is the time when they begin to grasp the difference between fluent and non-fluent speech.


Tip 1: Discuss with your child the definition of stuttering


Tip 2: Have your child research celebrities or historical people who stutter in order for them to understand that there are many different people just like them


Tip 3: Discuss with your child the different types of stuttering. You may you do this easily with a quick google search: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering/


Tip 4: Demonstrate with your child the difference between tension and relaxation in your whole body (i.e., fingers, arms, legs, toes, eyes, belly, lips, throat)
     - This will help your child learn how to move their muscles easier and in a more relaxed, unhurried way.


Tip 5: Talk about belly breathing with your child. Here are a few videos for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8GZ2Cm_I9U // https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB3tSaiEbNY
     - Learn about breathing from the diaphragm (belly) rather than the upper chest. This allows more space for air to travel in the body.
     - This is a healthy way to assist your child’s body in relaxation.


Tip 6: Demonstrate pausing and taking a breath before and during speaking and reading tasks. When speaking to your child, use the language, “take a pause” rather than “slow down”
     - During reading tasks, assist your child in pausing at punctuation and natural phrases/ breaks in sentences.

     - After each pause, teach them to take a breath in and start talking on the exhale


Tip 7: Ask modified questions to promote relaxed back-and-forth exchange with your child. This may reduce pressure.
     - Say, “Tell me about your picture.” Or “I wonder what you see on this page.”


Tip 8: Rephrase what your child says with easy, relaxed speech
     - This will enable your child to listen to fluent speech after a stuttering episode has occurred.


Here are highly recommended, wonderful materials that you will find helpful to use with your child. Something To Say About Stuttering is a book that discusses a child’s feeling/ emotions about stuttering. Fluency Flips is a tool you can use to work on slow rate of speech, pausing and smooth speech!


Thank you for reading. Please share this post with a family who might benefit from it.

 

Sources: The Stuttering Foundation: 7 Tips for talking with your child https://www.stutteringhelp.org/7-tips-talking-your-child-0

Author: Paige Woolman, M.S., CCC-SLP

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