Stuttering: How Can I Help My Child Have the Confidence to Communicate?
Whether it’s standing in a steamy bathroom holding a newborn with croup, or holding your 6-year-old’s hair back while she gets sick, as a parent, we will do anything to make sure our child is okay. So when we start to recognize that something is amiss with our child, it sets us on high alert.
“The most important thing to do when someone is stuttering is be a good communicator yourself.”
This is especially true when it’s something that seems to appear suddenly. When a child begins to stutter, as parents, our first instinct is to help.
Here are a few signs that your child may be stuttering, what may be causing this speech pattern in your child, and what to do to help.
Most frequently, stuttering first appears between the ages of two-and-a-half and four. It occurs many times in children who haven’t struggled with speech before. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recognizes three different forms of stuttering: part-word repetition, sound prolongation, and a series of interjections.
In part-word repetition stuttering, you may hear your child struggle to start a sentence. He or she may say, “W- W- W- Where are you going?” where your child is having difficulty moving from the “w” in “where” to the remaining sounds of the word.
With sound prolongation, your child may say “SSSSave me a seat,” where the difficulty lies in moving from the “s” in “save” to the remaining sounds of the word.
Series of Interjections
In a series of interjections, you may hear your child say, “I'll meet you – um, um, you know like – around six o'clock.”
Here, the difficulty lies in smoothly joining the word “you” with the word “around.” In response to the difficulty, your child produces several interjections until he or she is able to say the word “around” smoothly.
If you notice these patterns in your child’s speech, he or she may be struggling with stuttering.