Each year across the United Kingdom, thousands of kids are diagnosed with childhood stammers of different levels of severity and at different ages. Unfortunately, The fact that this condition is so common does not make it much easier for parents to accept that their own children are affected, as it is common knowledge that a stammer could be life-affecting for the long term.
This is exactly why the leading private speech therapists all insist that the most important element of the treatment is early detection. In general, it is a fact that the earlier a stammer is diagnosed and brought to the attention of a therapist, the higher the respective chance of achieving a full and fast recovery from their problem.
During the treatment phase, it is crucial to be aware that as it’s the parents that usually spend most time with their children than anyone else, their role in the treatment process is of incredible importance. So, if your own kid has been diagnosed with a stammer and its respective treatment has started, what things could you do at home every day to assist their development and facilitate the best possible result?
1 – Speak With Frequent Pauses and Slowly
Kids instinctively and naturally mimic the way their parents and adults in general talk – actually they will often grow up to sound quite identical to their parents. If you tend to speak quickly and with very few pauses between sentences, your kid will do likewise. Therefore, if the kid in question suffers from a stammer, it might be very difficult for them to speak in such a manner with little pause for breath or thought. So, when communicating with a child with a stammer, it is a good idea to speak at a slower pace and leave frequent pauses throughout.
2 – Avoid Asking Too Many Questions
When you pose a direct question to your child, you put them in a spot where the conversation can’t continue unless they say something. This might on the surface sound like a good idea as motivating them to speak is crucial, but on the other hand it could also put way too much pressure on a child that stammers and make them feel they are in the spotlight. Therefore, a more effective approach will be to keep conversations involving multiple parties flowing and to try to use comments instead of asking questions.
3 – Use Facial Expressions and Body Language
What is perhaps most crucial of all when talking to a stammering kid is to ensure that they know what they are trying to communicate is being assimilated and understood. If they think for one minute that you don’t know what they’re saying, they’ll lose confidence and likely show even bigger reluctance to speak. So, especially where younger kids are concerned, it is important to control your facial expressions and body language to make it clear that what they’re saying is being understood.
4 – Don’t Interrupt
When a kid has little or no confidence in their own ability to talk coherently and clearly, the likelihood of them participating in a conversation characterised by many interruptions is very low to say the least. Instead, it is a better idea to make sure each conversation is structured and everybody has the opportunity to talk without any fear of being interrupted. When a child that stutters is interrupted during the time they speak, this might be interpreted as a sign their contribution wasn’t valid – always highly negative for motivation.
5 – One on One Time
Along with ensuring your kid is involved in the usual family conversations, it is also important to dedicate some one-on-one time to them every day. The reason being that your child might be much more confident in talking to you alone than they would with other people around.
6 – Avoid Talking about the Stammer
Last up, when your kid expresses a wish to talk about their stammer, it is crucial to ensure they know it’s an open subject and one that has no reason for shame or stigma. Nevertheless, in other situations it is usually a good idea to keep away from discussing the subject unless the kid in question starts the conversation this way. It is a case of trying not to make them feel embarrassed or under a microscope as this could lead to further loss of confidence and motivation.