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Stuttering Therapy – How SCT Helps Children Achieve More Fluent Speech

Stuttering Therapy – How SCT Helps Children Achieve More Fluent Speech

It can be alarming to parents when their child begins to stutter. Many children stutter when they are acquiring language. With some key techniques, we can support and help our children through this disfluent period and reduce the risk of prolonged speech problems.

Why do Children Stutter?

Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by repeating, lengthening, or skipping sounds or words when speaking. It is common for children to have some disfluencies when they are learning to talk, typically between the ages of 18 months to 5 years old. This is what is typically referred to as Normal Disfluency and usually lasts for only a brief time. If however, the child’s disfluencies seem severe or persist for a prolonged period of time, the condition is referred to as Fluency Disorder.

There are four factors that have been identified that contribute to stuttering: genetic predisposition, communication delays, atypical language processing, and family dynamics. When a combination of these factors comes together, the result may be stuttering.

However, what causes stuttering is not necessarily what prolongs stuttering or makes it get worse. This is why a qualified SLP is important in the stuttering process- to shorten the length of time stuttering occurs and give the child and family critical skills to reduce the risk of escalating the stuttering behavior.

Therapy Process

At SCT, we offer evaluations to determine if your child’s stuttering is typical in nature and will likely resolve itself or if direct therapy is needed to help your child achieve more fluent speech.

Regardless of the nature of the stuttering, there are ways to help your child when they experience difficulty with fluent speech. The 7 tips outlined by the Stuttering Foundation include: 

  • Try to resist asking your child to “slow down.” Instead, model speaking in a calm unhurried way with lots of pauses, remembering to pause after your child speaks before you start to speak.
  • Find times to give your child your undivided attention. Make sure your body language says you are listening too (good eye contact with your body facing the child).
  • Reduce the amount of questions you ask your child. Instead of questions, try commenting on what they have just said.
  • Decrease the communication interruptions. Take turns talking and listening.
  • Find ways to build your child’s confidence. This can be in any area, not just speaking.
  • Set aside a special time each day to give your child your full attention. Try to make it a consistent time so that your child knows when it will be.
  • Treat your child who stutters that same as your other children. The same family rules should apply to all.

During our evaluation process and therapy, your SLP will help you as a parent learn and practice the techniques that will help your family best support your child as they learn to speak more fluently.

Stuttering FAQs

How common is stuttering?
About 1% of the adult population stutters. Boys are four times more likely to stutter than girls.

Is stuttering genetic?
It has been shown that approximately 60% of people who stutter have someone else in the family who stutters as well.

What resources are out there to help me as a parent?
The Stuttering Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers guidance, information, and free books/handouts to help children and adults of all ages.

At what age should I seek help?
The best prevention for stuttering is early intervention. If you have concerns, it is a good idea to have your child evaluated. Even though most children will outgrow their stuttering, there are ways that we can support them during this period and reduce their risk of prolonged speech problems.

Does insurance cover stuttering therapy?
If your insurance covers speech therapy, it should cover stuttering therapy as well. Check with your insurance for details on your specific plan.


About the Author

Lisa Hamblin, M.S., CCC-SLP

Lisa Hamblin, M.S., CCC-SLP

Lisa has worked with kids since her days in college coaching gymnastics for children 3-13.  Lisa is stimulated by watching children learn and succeed “their inner light shines so bright” she says, and it's this passion that serves as the foundation of SCT's mission to support and enrich the lives of children.

Lisa's therapy focuses on a child's specific needs and personality; a strategy that makes therapy feel more like play and less like work. Her specialties include autism spectrum disorders and advanced training in early speech and language development. Her training and experience with children birth to three years gives her a deep understanding of how to help children at any age. When Lisa founded SCT, she made training in birth to 3 years a requirement for all therapists as part of her effort to provide the best therapy possible for every child.

At home, Lisa has had the opportunity to guide the development of her own children – ages 17, 15, and 3. She finds relaxation in physical activities like running and rock climbing. This summer Lisa's oldest daughter will join her “on the rock” for the first time.

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