Early Intervention is Still the Answer for Children Who Stutter

Stuttering Foundation Answers Parents' Burning Questions in New Video

Sep 03, 2013, 08:45 ET from The Stuttering Foundation

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Why is my child stuttering? Will he outgrow it? Does she need professional therapy? Did I cause his stuttering? How can I help?

Current, timely and accurate information for parents about children and stuttering is now available in a new 16-minute video titled, 7 Tips for Talking with the Child Who Stutters available from the Stuttering Foundation.

In the video, a group of speech-language experts talk compassionately and directly to adults about how to support easier talking as they interact with their preschool-age children. The professionals offer simple, easy-to-follow tips that parents can use immediately.

"The so-called 'wait and see' approach, advocated by some, is an awfully bitter pill for a parent to swallow when they find their child struggling to speak," said Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation. "Experience tells us parents want answers immediately. What we are advocating instead is 'click and see' – we have a new video available for free that answers many of the most frequently asked questions by parents of preschoolers.

"Through our website, www.StutteringHelp.org, we have made the leading voices on preschool stuttering available to parents around the world to answer their tough questions and to offer practical strategies they can use to support their young child's communication skills and build confidence."

The video features some of the world's leading hands-on therapists working with preschool children who stutter. They include Lisa A. Scott, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, of The Florida State University's School of Communication Science and Disorders; Ellen Kelly, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; speech-language consultants Frances Cook,MBE, MSc, MRCSLT (Hons), Cert CT (Oxford), Willie Botterill, MSc, MRCSLT, Cert CT and Elaine Kelman, MSc, MRCSLT, Cert CBT from the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in London.

"We believe this video will make a real difference for parents who are anxious and feel helpless when their child first begins to stutter," Fraser added.

The 7 Tips video expands on one of the Foundation's most popular brochures and covers the following advice:

  1. Reduce the pace. When you speak in a calm, unhurried manner, it not only reduces your child's anxiety, it also models how to get sentences out fluently.
  2. Ask questions one at a time. When you talk with a child who stutters, ask one question at a time rather than bombarding him or her with a series. This makes it easier for the child to form a response and reply clearly.
  3. Engage in full listening.  When you speak to your child, stop what you are doing and make eye contact to show that you really are paying attention. This makes for better communication, whether the child stutters or not.
  4. Take turns. When you're gathered together, make sure each member of the family has equal time to speak and be heard. Children who stutter find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions.
  5. Build confidence. Praise your child when he or she does something well, and be specific "Thank you for putting your toys away, you are so helpful!" This will help your child to know what he or she did well. This helps the child to feel special and more confident.
  6. Schedule special times. Spending even five minutes of one-on-one time together every day, with no distractions, helps build a strong connection with your child and makes him or her feel supported.
  7. Remember that normal rules apply. If your child who stutters misbehaves, it's important to apply family rules just as you would for your other children. Clear, consistent discipline makes children feel more secure.

The 7 Tips video is being distributed to 53,000 pediatricians nationwide with an accompanying book, The Child Who Stutters: To the Pediatrician (5th edition). 

Foundation Spokesperson Jane Fraser

Jane Fraser is president of The Stuttering Foundation and co-author of If Your Child Stutters: A Guide for Parents, 8th edition. She is also vice president of the Action for Stammering Children, Michael Palin Centre, London.

About the Stuttering Foundation

Malcolm Fraser, a successful businessman and stutterer, went on to establish and endow the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation in 1947. The Foundation provides a toll-free helpline, 800-992-9392, and free online resources on its website, www.StutteringHelp.org, including services, referrals and support to people who stutter and their families, as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering.

Video with caption: "7 Tips for Talking with the Child Who Stutters." Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTpckAufNDE&feature=youtu.be

SOURCE The Stuttering Foundation