As our little ones begin to grow and become more verbal, you may begin to notice them stammer as they speak. While, on many occasions, it is natural for a toddler or preschooler to have issues pronouncing certain words, there are other instances where parents may be rightfully concerned.
If you have noticed that your child has a bit of difficulty speaking and they tend to hesitate or repeat certain syllables, words, or phrases, then this may be a sign of stuttering. Thankfully, however, there is plenty that can be done in order to improve your child’s speech and communication skills.
And your team at SLPtele is eager to help. Our southern California speech therapists are ready to deliver the quality treatment and care your little one deserves. Plus, we are able to provide convenient online speech therapy services.
If you are a bit concerned that your child is stuttering, then please consider the following information and tips on how to help them improve their speech skills.
What is stuttering? And how can I recognize it?
It’s natural for children to occasionally repeat syllables or words once or twice. Children may also hesitate a bit before speaking and use filler words such as “uh,” “er,” and “um”. This type of disfluency often affects children who are just beginning to learn to speak and occurs between the ages of one to five years old. Generally, this type of speech patterns will come and go.
Even if these types of behaviors disappear for several weeks, then return, the child may simply be going through a learning stage.
However, children with stuttering issues are likely to repeat sounds more than twice. The tension and struggle to pronounce words also becomes obvious in the child’s facial muscles, especially around the mouth. Also, the pitch of the voice may rise with repetitions, and occasionally the child will experience a “block” which means there is no airflow or voice for several seconds.
A child with a severe stuttering problem stutters more than 10% of their speech or stutters with a lot of effort and tension, and avoids stuttering by changing words or using extra sounds to get a sentence started.
There is hope though. There’s plenty you can do at home to support your child, and with assistance from SLPtele, your child can greatly improve their communication skills.
How Parents Can Help Their Children Improve Their Stuttering
- Pay attention. Try to increase the time that you give your child your undivided attention and really listen to them. Naturally, however, you won’t want to drop everything every time they speak but actually paying attention to what they say can help them to build confidence in their abilities.
- Don’t ask too many questions all at once. Asking your children questions is natural, expected, and beneficial for many reasons. But try to resist overwhelming your child with multiple questions all at once. Sometimes, it is more helpful to comment on what your child is saying rather than overwhelming them with questions.
- Take turns talking. Everyone in your family can help by taking turns when having a family conversation. Children find it easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions.
- Build up their confidence. Some of the hesitation and stammering can come as a result of their insecurity. When your child is concerned about the way they talk, they may not communicate as well as they would like. Positive words can truly go a long way.
- Spend some alone time together. Spend a few minutes each day when you can give your child your undivided attention. This means no TV, iPad, or phones. This can be a confidence builder for young children when they have your undivided attention and can help them improve their thought processes and communication abilities.
- Reduce the pace of your conversations. Don’t rush through your conversation when speaking with your child. You’ll also want to pause a little more frequently to give them the opportunity to respond. Your own relaxed speech will be more effective than any advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.”
- Reduce the demands they feel. As your child develops more advanced speech and language skills, they will experience many demands. Reducing this amount of “demand” speech (forcing them to have a conversation) can decrease the pressures they experience.
With SLPtele by your side, your child will greatly improve their stuttering and communication skills. And with us right in the middle of summer, now is the perfect time to start working on this issue. Our online speech therapy services are fun, engaging, and sure to improve your child’s speech.