What Is Stuttering?

Manila Bulletin, February 28, 2011 | Go to article overview

What Is Stuttering?


MANILA, Philippines - QUESTION: I have a 10-year-old son who stutters. He really finds it hard to speak clearly and smoothly especially if he's talking to people he doesn't know and groups of people. He speaks easily, though not perfect, when he talks to us, his family. He has a speech therapist but I'm not seeing any big progress from him. Please help.Stuttering which is also called stammering / "verbal non-fluency" is a speech difficulty where the stutterer tends to repeat words or syllable during an ongoing conversation.Stuttering sometimes includes jaw clenching or a rapid eye blinking. It can range from mild to severe and usually starts in childhood.How do you find a speech pathologist?The goal of stuttering therapy for children is for them to learn to talk in an easier manner, to build positive emotions, and attitudes about talking; reducing the frequency of stuttering, decreasing the tension and struggle of stuttering moments, using effective communication skills such as eye contact or phrasing.Hence, the length and type of therapy can vary greatly depending on your child's needs.Working together with a speech pathologist who is knowledgeable about stuttering will help your child learn to talk successfully and well.The University of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital has training programs in speech pathology often have a speech clinic that will provide therapy for stuttering. Contact them and find out moreabout having your child screened and evaluated for stuttering.A material on stuttering by Lisa Scott-Trautman, Ph.D. would guide you in looking for a therapist to help your child. First, learn as much as you can about stuttering so you will know whether the specialist you choose is also knowledgeable about childhood stuttering.The following questions are in particular very important to ask.1. How comfortable are you with evaluating and treating stuttering?This is important because some speech pathologists are not comfortable working with stuttering.2. How many children who stutter have you worked with? This will help you determine whether the speech pathologist has the kind of experience you need.3. What do you think the primary goals of stuttering therapy should be for a child? This will help you decide whether the speech pathologist's ideas about goals match your own.4. What approaches do you use in speech therapy? How often is therapy scheduled? It's important that the therapy be scheduled at a time that will work well for you, your child, and the SLP.5. What do you believe the parents' role should be in speech therapy?Finding a speech-language pathologist who believes that you have a crucial role in therapy and is willing to help you learn how to best help your child is an important part of this process.What parents can doAccording to Amy Nelson, parent may try these steps to help a child overcome stuttering:1. Don't require the child to speak precisely or correctly at all times. Allow talking to be fun and enjoyable.2. Use family meals as a conversation time. Avoid distractions such as radio or TV.3. Avoid corrections or criticisms such as "slow down," "take your time," or "take a deep breath."4. Avoid having your child speak or read aloud when uncomfortable or when the stuttering increases. Instead, during these times encourage activities that do not require a lot of talking.5. Speak slowly and clearly when talking to your child or others in his presence. …

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