How to help your child's stutter
Stuttering is a fairly common phenomenon - some estimates have shown that over 3 million Americans are afflicted. However, most of these people are children between the ages of 2 and 6, who often overcome their problem with time.
Stuttering can be embarrassing, and can prevent sufferers from communicating with people as they would like to. Fortunately, there are a number of therapeutic techniques that parents can use to help their children overcome their speech problem.
Why People Stutter
Stuttering may originate from a number of causes. Some types of stuttering are caused by neurogenic disorders that inhibit signal communication between areas of the brain that control speech. These disorders are sometimes caused by strokes or other forms of brain damage.
Another cause of stuttering occurs when people have disorders that affect their thought processes or reasoning abilities. This type of disorder is psychogenic, and usually occurs in people who have some forms of mental illness or have experienced extreme mental stress.
The most common cause of stuttering is believed to be developmental. The biggest proportion of those who stutter are kids who are in the process of developing their speech and language skills. In this case, stuttering occurs as a result of the child struggling to find the correct words to express their thoughts.
How to Help
- Be positive. If your child stutters, one of the worst things you can do is contribute to their anxiety toward speaking. Never criticize the child's speech or force them to keep trying to say the words properly. This will only contribute to their difficulty in articulating their thoughts.
- Be patient. Listening attentively to your child when they speak will help improve their speech by giving them the impression that they are communicating properly. Be patient and wait for them to say the words they intend, rather than trying to complete their thoughts for them.
- Talk about it. Talk openly with your child about their problem. Avoiding the subject will attach a sense of guilt to the child's understanding of their problem, which will only result in increased anxiety and disorganization of their thoughts.
As with any childhood ailment, for best results, the preceding techniques should be used at home in conjunction with a professional - in this case, a speech therapist. If you notice a problem with you child's speech development, consult a speech specialist to determine the extent of the problem and the most effective course of action.