Every child is an individual and there is no one size fits all, the most important thing is getting specialist advice as treatment recommendations differ depending on the age of your child and their needs. Below is some information that our parents have found helpful…
Parents of pre-school aged children
Watching your child struggle to get their words out can be distressing for parents and it’s really important that you get the right advice and support early on.
Early Stuttering – ages 2 to 5
Stuttering, for children of this age, is relatively common. Approximately 8.5% of pre-schoolers will go through a period of stuttering between the ages of two and four. Stuttering tends to run in families, may be triggered when a child starts to talk in sentences and can begin suddenly. Stuttering can fluctuate and is often more noticeable when children are tired or excited.
Although it’s true that many children grow out of stuttering, not all children do. It is important to get the right advice early on because treatment can eliminate stuttering at this age.
Noticing that your child is stuttering can be a time of anxiety and uncertainty, particularly if your child starts to stutter relatively suddenly. You may ask yourself, "why is this happening to my child?" or "have I done anything to cause this?" Searching on the internet may increase this confusion as contradicting information is available. Well-meaning friends or relatives may give misleading advice.
Contact START for specialist advice and guidance relevant to your child and situation. START’s speech language therapists can effectively eliminate or reduce stuttering in pre-schoolers following a course of treatment.
How you can support your pre-school aged child with their stutter
Listen to what your child is saying, not how she/he is saying it.
Do not give advice such as telling your child to stop or slow down.
Wait for the child to finish her/his words in his/her own time.
When talking with your child, listen actively, giving eye contact and getting down to your child’s level.
Make it okay to talk about stuttering openly. If your child shows frustration at not being able to talk, respond to and acknowledge the frustration.
Parents of school aged children
Advanced stuttering – ages 7+
Children who have been stuttering for longer than 3 years are less likely to grow out of stuttering. For these children it is important they have the techniques to manage their stuttering and minimise any anxiety it may cause.
At this age, children become more concerned about their stuttering. As they grow, learn and develop there may be an increase in their stuttering. New challenges contribute to this, such as being asked to read aloud in class, give a speech or take part in assembly. They can become frustrated or even develop avoidance behaviours like changing a word or not answering a question. Some school aged children develop a fear of talking. Teasing or bullying can often become an issue at this age.
How you can support your school aged child with their stutter
Take turns to talk. Ensure that everybody listens to each other and nobody interrupts the speaker.
Discuss with your child’s teacher about creating a supportive classroom environment.
Make it okay to talk about stuttering openly.
Be sure to give your child the time it takes to finish thoughts. Protecting your child’s talk time will reduce frustration when speaking.