Speech Therapy: What Can You Do To Help When Your Child Stutters
Updated: May 23, 2022
Stuttering is a speech impediment, speech and speech sound disorder where the normal flow of speech is disrupted. A child who stutters is one that repeats or prolongs sounds, syllables and words. For many children, stuttering is a natural part of learning a language and they will eventually grow out of it. For others, stuttering can persist even into adulthood, making it difficult for them to communicate with others. As such, many parents tend to feel helpless, guilty, and sometimes, even anxious when they notice their child stuttering. You may even worry about their future, social life and career options.
At this stage, it is normal for parents to wonder what they can do to help their child. In addition to enrolling them into a speech therapy program in Singapore or consulting a private speech therapist, there are also other things that you can do to help your child talk more smoothly. While these strategies may not cure your child’s stutter, these are changes that can create a safe and positive space for them during these bumpy times. In this article, we are going to talk about what you can do to help, so read on for more!
Children with bumpy speech may benefit from hearing slower speech. In many cases, children tend to stutter more when they are excited, angry, scared, upset or when they feel pressured. By slowing your speech, you can decrease the sense of competition and time pressure during the conversation. This is also known as “easy speech”.
With easy speech, you want to stretch out your words and keep your rate of speech slow. You can still be animated and expressive, however, your speech should always be smooth. It can take some time for you to get used to this technique and make it sound natural when speaking with your child. With time and consistency, you will notice that their speech will begin imitating yours, and they may stutter less.
Use More Wait Time
To further decrease the sense of competition during a conversation with your child who stutters, we recommend waiting approximately 2-3 seconds after your child stops speaking before you start. Remember to use positive facial expressions and body language when listening to your child speak – this shows that you are attentive and focused on the message as compared to the way they are speaking.
While it may seem small, this wait time lets your child see that it is okay for them to put their thoughts into words. It also decreases the competition for talk time by slowing the pace of a conversation, in turn, making the communication seem more relaxing. You can take it a step further by demonstrating pauses in your own speech when responding to questions that your child asks as this emphasises that it is okay to take time to respond.
Encourage Turn-Taking In Conversations
Besides sending your child for speech therapy in Singapore, as a parent, you can also try to manage the conversation in the household. Your child may feel tough find it difficult to have a chance at talking when everyone else has something to say, this can be especially prevalent if your child is showing signs of stuttering and has siblings. What you can do is to take opportunities to allow for conversational turn-taking to happen. The dinner table can be a great place to try this out – have everyone in the family take turns in conversations by giving each person a turn to talk, without any interruptions.
Everyone has their good and bad days, and your child is no different. If you know your child is having a rough or bumpy day, then you can ask fewer questions or questions that your child can answer in a few words. On smoother days, you can give your child more opportunities to talk as this can boost their confidence levels.
Read our blog to learn more parent-child activities that you can do to promote speech at home.
Acknowledging Your Child’s Stutter
If your child knows that they stutter or are frustrated about their stuttering, let them know that you understand. You can do this by helping your child express how they feel about the stuttering. For instance, you can say, “that was hard for you to say,” or “that was a big word, you really tried hard on that one.” By doing so, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your child, encouraging them to talk more.
What If These Tips Are Not Enough?
These tips can prove to be helpful and supportive for a child demonstrating stuttering in their speech. However, a direct intervention supported by a skilled private speech therapist in Singapore is sometimes the best course of action.
MindChamps Allied Care has certified private speech therapists and pathologists to assess and provide intervention for children with speech and language difficulties in Singapore. Adopting a wide range of effective approaches and strategies, our children's speech therapy sessions aim to address each individual’s needs and promote speech as well as language development.
Instead of searching the Internet for “children's speech therapy near me”, why not visit MindChamps Allied Care today? Reach out to us today to learn more about the speech therapy services we offer in our therapy centres across the island.