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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Marge, M.S. CCC-SLP

How can I help my preschool child who stutters?

Many preschool children stutter. It is difficult to tell which children will outgrow it and which children will continue to stutter. If you are concerned about your child’s speech fluency, it is always best to seek the guidance of a licensed speech therapist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Here are some ways you can help your preschool child if he is going through a period of stuttering.

  1. Speak to your child slowly. Many children who stutter are told to slow down which can be very frustrating to them. It can be helpful to model a slow rate of speech for your child. To learn how to do this, see my blog “How Can I Slow Down My Speech?”

  2. Use pauses between speaking turns. If conversations are rushed, children may feel pressure to respond quickly before someone else talks. Pausing between speaking turns can reduce this pressure.

  3. Decrease the number of questions you ask in a row. It is better to find a balance between asking questions and making comments. This helps reduce pressure on your child to respond. Try beginning your sentences with “I wonder…” or “I think…” to prompt your child in conversations. You can also make comments. Instead of “What color did you choose?”, you can say, “I chose red for my color.”

  4. Reduce the complexity and length of your sentences. Children often imitate the vocabulary and grammar of their parents. Making your language more simple by reducing the length of your sentences, using simpler grammar and vocabulary can make the speaking environment less demanding, especially when a child is going through a period of stuttering.

If your preschool child has been stuttering for more than six months, began stuttering after the age of 3 ½, and there is a family history of stuttering, it is best to contact a speech therapist for an evaluation. It is always better to intervene early!

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