Warning to Parents: Stuttering Doesn't Take a Summer Break

Summertime Can Increase Stuttering

Jun 21, 2007, 01:00 ET from Stuttering Foundation

    MEMPHIS, Tenn., June 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For children who
 stutter, summer break can be anything but a vacation.
     As many as 5% of all children stutter during some point in their young
     According to Jane Fraser, president of the 60-year-old non-profit
 Stuttering Foundation, "Stuttering is a very individualized problem. Some
 children may actually stutter more during the summer because their
 structure and routine have been taken away -- and that stress can cause
 more disfluencies."
     Top speech-language pathologists agree.
     Lisa Scott of The Florida State University cautions that a break from
 speech therapy during the summer months may hamper a child's progress
 toward more fluent speech.
     And for the child not yet in therapy, summer may be a perfect time to
     In either case, families with children who stutter must learn how to
 best modify their summer plans to promote more fluent speech.
     Scott reminds parents that summer vacation is not necessarily
     "Children are often presented with situations or activities that can
 increase stuttering. Parents can work on making a child's activities as
 stress-free as possible," Scott said. "Be in tune to what conditions stress
 your child and change those which could result in more stuttering."
     During vacation and throughout the year, there are things parents can
 do to help a child who stutters. The Stuttering Foundation offers these
     -- Speak with your child in an unhurried way, 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 are expressing their own ideas rather than answering an
        adult's questions. Instead of asking questions, simply comment on what
        your child has said, thereby letting him know you heard him.
     -- Use your facial expressions and other body language to convey to your
        child that you are listening to the content of her message and not to
        how she's talking.
     The Foundation offers free streaming videos, books, downloadable
 brochures and a worldwide referral list at http://www.stutteringhelp.org.
 Help for parents is also available by calling 800-992-9392.

SOURCE Stuttering Foundation