6 Strategies to Support Your Child Who Stutters

Parent helping child with stutter

As a parent, having a child who stutters may seem overwhelming and confusing at first. You might feel helpless as to how to help. Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” for stuttering, and for some children, stuttering may be a lifelong challenge. Thankfully, there are many things you can do at home to support your child. Speech-language pathologists work with families to help create an environment at home that promotes fluent speech and helps children become confident communicators. Here are some strategies to use at home to support a child who stutters.

  • Don’t interrupt them when they are talking

If your child is in the middle of a stutter, it is very important for you to wait it out and allow your child to finish their sentences. This will let your child know that you care about what they have to say and will reduce the pressure they feel when speaking. Make sure to really listen to what your child is saying, rather than focusing on their stutter. 

  • Model slow, fluent speech when you are talking

Parents should pay attention to their own speech at home and try to model slow rates of speech and “smooth, easy” talking. You can provide a great example of fluent speech for your child to hear and imitate on their own. 

  • Psuedo stutter with them at home

Pseudo stuttering means “fake stuttering”. A strategy to try at home is to pseudo stutter every once in a while, when you talk to your child. This may feel strange for you at first but doing so will help your child understand that stuttering is normal and that their parents even do it sometimes too! 

  • Set aside a specific time each day to practice their speech strategies

If your child’s speech-language pathologist provides homework and speech strategies to try at home, it is important to set aside a specific time to practice these skills (for example, in the car on the way to soccer practice or at the table during breakfast). You should not expect your child to practice their speech strategies at all hours of the day while they are having conversations with you. Practicing their speech at a set time and in smaller increments will help them learn fluency skills and also let them know they can relax when they are talking to you throughout the day around the house. 

  • Educate yourself and your child on stuttering

There are a lot of myths and misinformation out there about stuttering. It is important for you to get the facts from a reputable source and stay up to date on any new research coming out. The Stuttering Foundation is a great guide for parents and children who stutter. They have tons of useful information and free resources on their website at www.stutteringhelp.org

  • Celebrate your child’s uniqueness and help them embrace their stutter

Stuttering is just one small part of who your child is. Help build their confidence and let them know that it is okay to stutter, and everybody does it sometimes. You can teach your child about famous people who stutter (for example, even the President of the United States has a stutter!). Empower them to learn more about stuttering and they can teach classmates or other family members about it. 

Hopefully, these tips will help you create a positive communication environment in your household for your child who stutters! If you ever have concerns about stuttering, please reach out to a speech-language pathologist who can evaluate and treat your child’s stutter. 

Contact us if you’re interested in a free screening for your child!

Written by Melanie Krupowicz M.S., CCC-SLP

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