Stuttering Therapy

What should I expect when I contact Granite Bay Speech about my child’s stuttering symptoms?

Our highly skilled therapists will answer your questions during a phone consultation without obligation. After your phone consultation, you decide which options best fit your family’s needs. If testing is desired, an initial session with your child is scheduled to determine skill levels. A complete developmental and speech case history is completed.

We suggest you bring one of your child’s favorite toys, books or photographs with you to the first session. A special item from home may ease your child’s nerves. They are more likely to talk about something familiar, rather than new items in the office. Your child will talk and play with our highly skilled therapists using age appropriate items such as toys, pictures and/or books. We will observe and analyze your child’s speech, including the number of repetitions and type of repetitions. We will share techniques to decrease your child’s stuttering. A review of videotapes may assist in determining the cause the solution for stuttering symptoms.

After testing is completed, a separate conference to discuss test results is arranged with family members when your child is not present. You may be given tracking charts, home assignments, videotapes, written information, and websites to manage stuttering symptoms at home. Enrollment in therapy may be recommended. Therapy may be intensive or occasional, depending on the needs of you and your child.

I think my child stutters but I’m not sure.

According to most recent research and recommendations, a screening test by a speech language pathologist who specializes in stuttering is recommended for any of the following symptoms or concerns.

(These questions are listed in order of the seriousness of the problem. If a parent answers “yes” to any question other than the first one, it suggests the possibility of stuttering rather than normal dysfluency.)

  • Does the child repeat parts of words rather than whole words or entire phrases? (for example, “a-a-a-apple”)
  • Does the child repeat sounds more than once every 8 to 10 sentences?
  • Does the child have more than two repetitions? (“a-a-a-a-apple” instead of “a-a-apple”)
  • Does the child seem frustrated or embarrassed when he has trouble with a word?
  • Has the child been stuttering more than a year?
  • Does the child raise the pitch of his voice, blink his eyes, look to the side, or show physical tension in his face when he stutters?
  • Does the child use extra words or sounds like “uh” or “um” or “well” to get a word started?
  • Does the child sometimes get stuck so badly that no sound at all comes out for several seconds when he’s trying to talk?
  • Does the child sometimes use extra body movements, like tapping his finger, to get sounds out?
  • Does the child avoid talking, substitute/switch words, or quit talking in the middle of a sentence when he might stutter?

How can I tell the difference between true stuttering and normal dysfluency?

A screening test by a licensed speech language pathologist who specializes in stuttering is one of the only ways to determine if true stuttering is present.

Why is early intervention for stuttering highly recommended?

The National Stuttering Association states that “Early intervention is the most effective way to help children overcome their speaking difficulties, so it is important for parents and pediatricians to seek an evaluation by a qualified speech-language pathologist as soon as they become concerned about a child’s stuttering.” The older a child is, the less likely stuttering will be outgrown. Stuttering is more likely to become a chronic communication difficulty as a child ages. Teasing and bullying as well as negative self perceptions often occur when stuttering symptoms are left untreated.

Without early detection and treatment of stuttering within the first 18 months, the recovery rate drops to approximately 15%. It’s critical that therapy is sought out as soon as possible to avoid incorrect speech pattern mapping. Help your child by addressing stuttering head on and seeking treatment as soon as possible.

I know my child stutters. Now what do I do?

The key to preventing long-term stuttering is to provide guidance for parents when a child first begins to stutter. If properly treated during the early stages, children have a greater chance of avoiding lifelong stuttering. Parents are often mistakenly advised to “wait and see” if a child will outgrow it. While some children outgrow stuttering, others won’t. It takes the skilled guidance of a speech language pathologist who specializes in stuttering to determine the best course of treatment.

Scientifically proven therapy techniques tailored to the child often improve or eliminate stuttering. A consultation by phone and/or in the office is the best way to decide if therapy is needed. No two children or families are alike, and individual consultation is recommended to assure your child is developing skills as expected. If a family member stutters it is especially important to receive an in office consultation as soon as stuttering symptoms are evident.

Once stuttering occurs past the preschool years, it often becomes a lifelong concern.

How Can Parents Help a Child Who Stutters?

Speak with your child in an unhurried manner, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds, after your child finishes speaking, before you begin to speak. Your own slow, relaxed speech will be far more effective than any criticism or advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.”

Reduce the number of questions you ask your child. Children speak more freely if they’re expressing their own ideas rather than answering an adult’s questions. Instead of asking a question, simply comment on what your child has said, thereby letting him know you heard him.

If you need to ask questions, provide word options in a choice format: “Do you want milk or juice?” “Do you want an orange or an apple?” When you provide a choice, it reduces communication stress for your child and may reduce stuttering symptoms. Your child doesn’t have to think of the label for the desired item, and this reduces stress. Your child also hears the auditory model which helps their brain model your fluency.

If you use a slightly melodic vocal inflection you may induce fluency because the areas of the brain responsible for fluent speech are more easily activated when musical tones are utilized.

Use your facial expressions and other body language to convey to your child, when he stutters, that you are listening to the content of his message and not to how he’s talking. During this time, let him choose what he would like to do. Let him direct you in activities and decide himself whether to talk or not.

When you talk during this special time, use slow, calm, and relaxed speech, with plenty of pauses. This quiet, calm time can be a confidence-builder for younger children, serving to let them know that a parent enjoys their company. As the child gets older, it can serve as a time when the child feels comfortable talking about his feelings and experiences with a parent.

Help all members of the family learn to take turns talking and listening. Children, especially those who stutter, find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions and they have the listener’s attention.

Observe the way you interact with your child. Try to increase those times that give your child the message that you are listening to his ideas, not his stuttering. Demonstrate good listening skills by getting down to his eye level and looking directly at him. If at all possible, put down the items in your hand and provide your undivided attention. Try to decrease any and all criticisms, rapid speech patterns, interruptions, and questions.

Above all, convey that you accept your child as he is. Your own slower, more relaxed speech and the things you do to help build his confidence as a speaker are likely to increase his fluency and diminish his stuttering. The most powerful force, however, will be your support of him whether he stutters or not.

The NSA

The National Stuttering Association is dedicated to providing hope, empowerment, and support for you and your child.Through the NSA, you will become part of a community of people who understand stuttering.

If you or someone in your life would like to begin to experience a life filled with more confidence, opportunity, and clear communication, then take the first step today by clicking below and contacting us for a consultation.

The greatest gift you can give yourself and your child is the knowledge that you are not alone in dealing with stuttering!

The National Stuttering Association (NSA) recommends:

  • Learn about stuttering
  • Seek the advice of a specialist
  • Learn to change speech patterns in small steps
  • Get Connected with the NSA

The Stuttering Home Page

The Stuttering Home Page is filled with information and resources for people who stutter, professionals working with those who stutter, and more! You can easily access information about therapy, support groups, as well as, the latest research.

The Stuttering Foundation

The Stuttering Foundation provides free online resources, services and support to those who stutter and their families, as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering. It is the first and largest nonprofit charitable organization supporting prevention of stuttering.

ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website has many great resources regarding stuttering. These resources are great for people who stutter, parents of children who stutter, as well as professionals working with people who stutter.