In our article "Stuttering” we talked about what to look for if you are concerned your child has a stuttering disorder. Now we would like to discuss what happens after she has been diagnosed. There are two key parts to a successful plan of treatment, speech therapy with a speech pathologist who specializes in stuttering disorders and a knowledgeable and supportive family unit.
What Your Therapist Will Do
Think of your child’s therapist as your teacher for all things stuttering. A teachers job is to not only share with her students her knowledge, but to give them the skills and tools to help them retain and grow long after the lesson is over. Our speech therapists work together with you and your child to create reachable goals to help her succeed. Some general goals of stuttering therapy may include:
- Reducing the frequency of your child’s stuttering. Discovering when stuttering seemed to be more prevalent, is useful knowledge to reducing stuttering overall.
- Working to decrease any avoidances to certain words or situations your child may have. Stress and fear or embarrassment can cause stuttering to worsen and she may try to avoid situations where she is more likely to feel such emotions.
- Teaching and using other effective communication skills. By helping your child with skills such as eye contact and word phrasing, you are helping him gain confidence in his voice.
- Learning more about stuttering. Knowledge and the implementation of that knowledge is the key to successful speech therapy.
What You Can Do
The most successful children in stuttering therapy are those that have unwavering support from their parents and family. Your child’s therapist will work with you and suggest activities and tools to help and encourage your child when she is at home. Some simple do’s and don’t tips to remember are:
- Do give him time to complete his sentence. It is very important to wait for him to finish his words in his own time. Being cut off is frustrating and can lead to negative emotions such as embarrassment and fear to speak. Focus on what he is saying and not how he is saying it, get down on his level and give eye contact. This will help him know that you are interested in what he has to say.
- Don’t finish her sentence for her. Stuttering tends to get worse when she is stressed or anxious. You may feel like you are “helping” her by finishing her sentence for her, however it will have a negative effect on her ability to overcome such situations herself.
- Do acknowledge that he is having a difficult time. Be supportive and open about the subject of stuttering and let him know he can talk to you about his frustrations.
- Don’t tell your child to “slow/calm down” or “think before you talk”. Stuttering is not something he can consciously control. Words and phrases such as these will likely add to his anxiety and frustration.
- Do spend some one on one special time with your child everyday. Let your child pick the activity to do and spend 5-10 minutes doing it with him. Encourage positive conversation but do not ask too many questions or force him to talk a lot.
Together, stuttering therapy and a good support system are a great team, working together to help your child succeed and find confidence in their voice. We would love to take this journey with you. Be sure to ask for Carolina Pediatric Therapy when you talk to your pediatrician, and we’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Shandy Marso, Contributor
Carolina Pediatric Therapy © July 2014
Want to know how a Therapist can Help?
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