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  • Morgan McWaters M.S., CCC-SLP

7 Tips for Talking With Your Child Who Stutters

Updated: Nov 8, 2021



The research is clear that there is no evidence to support that parents have a role in the onset of stuttering (Kloth et al., 1999). However, there is some evidence to support that stuttering influences parent interaction style (Meyers & Freeman, 1985a; 1985b; Zenner et al., 1978).


These studies showed that mothers of both children who stutter and children who do not stutter use a faster rate of speech (Meyers & Freeman, 1985b), interrupt more frequently (Meyers & Freeman, 1985a), and are more anxious (Zenner et al., 1978) when interacting with children who stutter compared with children who do not stutter.


Modifications in parent's interaction style with children who stutter can help support fluency and minimize the impact of the stuttering on both the child and the family. The following guidelines from The Stuttering Foundation represent a number of ways that adults can help.


7 Tips for Talking With Your Child Who Stutters


#1: Reduce the Pace

#2: Full Listening

#3: Asking Questions

#4: Turn-taking

#5: Building Confidence

#6: Special Times

#7: Normal Rules Apply


 

#1: Reduce the Pace

Instead of telling your child to "slow down" or "try it again slowly", model and show them what easy, relaxed speech sounds like. To model easy relaxed speech, speak in a slow, unhurried way, while inserting pauses frequently.


#2: Full Listening

Try to increase times where your child has your full, undivided attention. Show them that what they have to say is valuable and worth being said.


#3: Asking Questions

Asking too many questions in succession can increase the communication demands placed on your child. Instead of questions, try using comments instead. For example, while reading a book, instead of asking the child "What do you see?", you can say, "Wow! Look at that big animal!".


#4: Turn-Taking

Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions. Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening.


#5: Building Confidence

Use descriptive praise unrelated to talking to help build confidence. For example, "I liked the way you picked up your toys, you're so helpful!" instead of, "that's great." You can incorporate praise into other skills such as: being independent, organized, or careful.


#6: Special Times

Put aside as little as five-minutes every day where your child has your undivided attention. This can be a great confidence builder for your child.


#7: Normal Rules Apply

Discipline the child who stutters just as you do your other children and just as you would if he didn’t stutter.



If you are concerned about your child's stuttering, please contact us for a free phone consultation.

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