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Tips for Children with Slight Stutter

Published by Nanni on Monday, July 30, 2012

Photo credit by United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley

If your child is showing a slight stuttering problem, the same general rule of thumb which covers nearly everything about children is also appropriate to this problem. The rule is that children respond best to positive reinforcement, worse to the negative, and worse yet to pretense. In other words, acting as if it does not exist is one of the most harmful ways you can react to your child's stuttering. Do not assume that he will simply grow out of it, because he may not. Even more important, resist the temptation of thinking that it is not a big deal to your child, because it is probably bothering him much more than you realize. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better it will be for your child.

The way a child learns to begin talking is by listening, watching, and copying those around him. If you and all of the other people in his everyday life make a consistent habit of speaking slowly, pronouncing your words smoothly and correctly, and allowing a brief pause before you begin to speak, the younger the child is, the more likely he will be to pick up this habit.

This is much more productive than talking to your child about his stuttering. While you should acknowledge the problem, placing too much emphasis on it will only cause him to become self-conscious. This can lead to the problem worsening.

One method which some have found helpful in relieving a stuttering problem is to take up singing. While this may sound odd at first, it has been shown to be effective. Many youngsters who find it difficult to speak without stuttering can easily learn to sing clearly, without stuttering.

Although many small children stutter at times, the parent or teacher who spends a considerable amount of time with a child usually notices if it has become a problem. The first course of action should be to keep his everyday environment as stress-free as possible. When a child is overly stressed, nervous, or anxious, it can result in stuttering. As even children who do not actually have a stuttering problem can experience it in such situations, youngsters who are already prone to it can become worse.

The second step is to consult a speech professional. If your child has a noticeable stuttering problem, even if it is relatively minor, some professional assistance can help him. Depending upon the severity of the problem, your child's age, and other factors, you may be advised to take him to speech therapy on a regular basis. If your child is attending school or day care, his teacher or school nurse should be able to direct you to a speech therapist.

Regardless of whether your child's stuttering problem is minor or severe, he can be helped. Not allowing the problem to progress without help is never in his best interests. The embarrassment a child feels over his stuttering can cause him to become shy, embarrassed, and refrain from positive interactions with other people. Addressing the problem, and seeking help, are the first steps toward a healthy sense of self-esteem.

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