If you have a child who stutters there are things you can do to help him or her feel better about themselves. Here are 7 ways to help your stuttering child.
1. Be sure to speak in a slow relaxed manner, pausing often when you talk. When having a conversation with your child, don’t respond right away after he finishes speaking. Instead wait a few seconds before you talk. By speaking in an unhurried manner, you are modeling the right pace.
2. Show your child that you are listening to what he has to say rather than how he is saying it. Watch out that your facial expressions or body language are not showing impatience when he happens to stutter.
Your child will surely pick up on your non verbal expressions and may feel pressured if they seem negative. So avoid glancing at your watch or tapping your fingers when he’s speaking. And maintain eye contact with him so he knows you’re paying attention.
3. Try not to interrupt the flow of what your child is saying by asking a lot of questions or making a lot of comments. Allow him to talk freely about anything he wants to. If he can talk about what interests him, he will probably be more willing to talk more than if he just has to answer questions. The more he can talk without pressure, the better.
4. Everyone in the family should be treated with respect and given a chance to talk and express themselves without getting cut off. If family members are constantly being rushed to finish what they are saying or are being interrupted, you are sending a negative message to your stuttering child. The last thing you want is for a stutterer to be afraid that they can’t get their words out quickly enough.
5. Your child needs to know that you are on her side. So if she tells you that she is getting teased at school because she stutters, arrange to talk to her teacher. You may also want to help her come up with a few ideas of how she can deal with teasing on her own.
6. Always be a good listener. Allow him to talk without completing his sentences, filling in words, or making corrections for words that aren’t said properly. Every conversation should not become a lesson in speaking.
7. Most of all, be sure you are conveying the message that your child is loved for who she is, not for how she talks. There will be times when she feels down on herself. Don’t discount these feelings but explain that everyone has trouble with something at one time or another. Use yourself as an example and relate something that was a problem for you when you were a child.