Stuttering is a speech ailment that causes a person to repeat, interrupt or prolong sounds, syllables, or words when they try to speak. It affects people of all ages.
It is natural for toddlers and children to have issues pronouncing a few words, but there are certain instances where parents may be rightfully concerned. Every parent feels helpless when they find that their child stutters.
There are a lot of ways to improve your child's speech and communication skills. Speech therapists at Sounderic are ready to deliver the quality treatment and care your tiny one deserves.
Here's how parents can help their children improve stuttering:
1. Give them time and listen to them:
Giving your child time is one of the best ways to make them feel happy about themselves. Try to increase the time that you give your child. Let your child have your undivided attention and listen to them. You wouldn't have to drop everything and listen to them at all times but pay attention to what they say and help them build their confidence. Listening is a conscious effort to comprehend what the other person is trying to say. Let the kid decide what he desires to do. Let him decide whether he wants to talk or not. This time you spend with your child could be a confidence builder for your child as it makes the kid feel that the parents have time for them.
2. Ask limited questions:
Asking your child questions is natural and expected and sometimes beneficial too. But try to resist overwhelming your child with multiple questions at once. It is more helpful to form sentences rather than challenge them with these many questions. Children usually speak more freely if they are expressing their ideas rather than answering questions.
3. Build up their confidence:
One of the best ways to help your child overcome stuttering is by building up their confidence. Use positive affirmations every time they speak a sentence perfectly and make them feel seen and heard. This boosts their faith, and they continuously work towards getting better. Acknowledge their smooth speech and make them feel appreciated.
4. Reduce the pace of your conversation:
While talking to your child, do not rush through your conversation. Pause frequently to allow them to respond. Your relaxed speech will be more effective for the child. Wait for a few seconds after your child finishes speaking before you begin to talk.
5. Observe your speech patterns:
Try to listen more and talk less. Give your child lots of time to speak. Use positive words and try to decrease negative criticisms, rapid speech patterns, interruptions, and questions. The most powerful force will be you listening to your child and making him feel heard. Be positive and do not get irritated. Always know that it is harder on them than on you. Be empathetic towards your child.
6. Do not put your child on edge:
Avoid having your child speak or read aloud when uncomfortable. Many children are shy to talk in front of others, and with stammering, the anxiety increases. Kids who stammer can endure a range of negative sentiments. They feel frustrated at the loss of control over their speech. Some children have reported feeling guilty or ashamed about not being able to speak fluently.
7. Listen to inputs of the speech therapist:
As a responsible parent, you have to do as your child's speech pathologist thinks. They are the expert in their field. You as a parent should coordinate with the therapist and ask them as many questions as you can about how to handle your child based on their progress. The experienced pathologist will help you and your child get through this challenge together. They create an efficient and safe space for your child to share his challenges and difficulties.
8. Build a secure home environment:
Make your home a safe place to speak. Make your child feel comfortable talking with you and others even if he stutters. Encourage your child to talk gently, slowly, and comfortably. Make sure you do not pressure your child into speaking if they don't want to. Keep your child healthy and ensure that they get adequate sleep, follow a general routine schedule, and attend their pathologist sessions on time.
9. Attempt mindfulness:
Mindfulness is a proven way to decrease stress and anxiety. Research shows a relationship between the effects of mindfulness and the tools necessary for stuttering management. Adding mindfulness meditation to a therapy program for stuttering may be helpful for some children.
A parent should be patient with the child's recovery and shouldn't have unrealistic expectations.
While there is no cure for stuttering, speech therapy can be particularly effective in helping people gain control over their speech.