Tips for Helping Your Preschooler Who StuttersOct 25, 2021
When we look at stuttering treatment for preschoolers there are two types of treatment approaches: Direct and indirect treatment approaches. Today, we are going to focus more on the indirect approach towards stuttering therapy. An indirect therapy approach for stuttering looks at changing the child’s environment to decrease stuttering. Not only does the indirect approach look into changing the child’s environment, but it also looks at changing how others communicate with the child. It is important to understand that an indirect therapy approach towards stuttering is going to be used when the child is unaware of his or her stuttering, in other words, the child is not becoming frustrated because it is difficult to get words out. Below are some strategies you can use with your child to help decrease stuttering now.
- Reduce your rate of speech
- Repeat or slightly change what your child said to model fluent speech instead of directly asking them to slow down or repeat words more slowly
- Avoid criticizing or punishing your child for disfluent speech
- Limit time pressures (feeling the need to quickly get your words out) by pausing longer between speaking opportunities during a conversation and facilitating this with other family members
- Ask fewer questions, make more comments or statements
- Limit interruptions while your child speaks and putting words into the child’s mouth (i.e., give them plenty of time to get their thoughts out)
- Have routines to reduce anxiety throughout the child’s day
- Children imitate you at this age so use shorter, syntactically correct utterances to reduce the processing and speaking demand for the child
- During play, follow your child’s lead to reduce verbal pressure and be supportive in another way by providing eye contact and/or praise
American Speech and Hearing Association. Stuttering.
American Speech and Hearing Association. Fluency Disorders
Sidavi, A., and Fabus, R. (2010). A Review of Stuttering Intervention Approaches for Preschool-Age and Elementary School-Age Children. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, Volume 37, 14-26. https://pubs.asha.org/doi/pdf/10.1044/cicsd_37_S_14
Whelan, A., (2019). 5 Tips to Share With Parents of Preschoolers Who Stutter. Leader Live. https://leader.pubs.asha.org/do/10.1044/5-tips-to-share-with-parents-of-preschoolers-who-stutter/full/
Sawyer J., Chon, H., and Ambrose, N. G. (2008). Influence of Rate, Length, and Complexity on Speech Disfluency in a Single Speech Sample in Preschool Children Who Stutter. J Fluency Disord. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621061/
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About the Author
Lauren Purcell is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). She graduated from San Jose State University in California with a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders and Sciences and a Master of Arts in Education/Speech Pathology. She works as an SLP with Tandy Therapy. Tandy Therapy LLC is a multi-disciplinary clinic that offers speech-language, occupational, and physical intervention to pediatric clients at their home office in Post Falls, ID, as well as via telepractice around the country. You may call the team at 208-981-1111 to set up a strengths-based evaluation if you feel that language learning and understanding may be affecting your child’s school work.