Stop the Stutter! - 5 helpful tips from a mom who helped her kid overcome his speech impediment
My son Daniel had been stuttering and stammering since he was 3. With professional help, followed up with some mommy guidance, Daniel was able to control his stuttering. Find out the 5 things you can do at home to help with your child's stutter.
My son has been stuttering and stammering since the age of 3. This went on for over a year until we sought medical help.
“M..m..m..mommy, I..I..I..want m..m…m..my biscuit!”, my son wailed. Yes, he was frustrated that I was busy and I didn’t tend to his needs immediately. I gave him his biscuit and he was his happy self again.
However, I couldn’t shake the worry that I had about his speech. My son has been stuttering and stammering since the age of 3.
At first, my husband and I thought it was normal for young children to stutter especially when they are excited. However, Daniel stammered even when he was calmly speaking. This went on for over a year until we sought medical help.
We took him to see a speech doctor and a speech therapist. The therapist was very friendly towards Daniel and got him to warm up to him quickly. After going through several speech therapy sessions for over a year, Daniel’s speech has greatly improved. He still stutters a little when he is excited but it is much better now than before.
Here are some practical tips on how to help your child when he or she stammers:
1. Use positive reinforcement of correct speech.
Positive reinforcement is always better than negative scoldings such as, “Why are you talking like that?” or “Can’t you speak properly?” Such negative statements damage your child’s self esteem and may make him even more fearful of his stammer.
When your child says something like, “B..b…but I..I..I want t..t..t..to watch t..t..t..TV,” you can gently say, “You want to watch TV, dear? Can you follow how I say it?” Then slowly say each word clearly and encourage your child to follow suit.
Give your child generous praises when he or she speaks correctly. It takes a lot of patience to use the positive reinforcement method, but it will be worth the effort at the end of the day.
2. Reduce watching television
Watching television can be very disruptive to normal interaction. Most families have their television sets switched on during dinner time and talk to each other with the TV noise in the background.
Your child is distracted and cannot concentrate on what you are saying to him or her. Why not consider switching the television off and chat with your child about the day’s events? Without the added stimulation and noise, it is much easier for your child to hear you speak correctly and pick up good proper speech.
3. Visual aid
This is a tool which I found very useful for Daniel. We did two small postcards. Each had a drawing of a straight line and a bumpy line. Daniel took the initiative and stuck little car stickers on top of these lines.
Whenever he stuttered, we would show him the card and pointed out gently that he was speaking like a bumpy road. Then, when he spoke without any stammer, we would praise him and congratulate him for speaking like he is driving on a straight road.
Daniel was not upset when we used this method. As a matter of fact, he loved it and took pride each time he was shown the straight road card. He even made a few more similar cards himself.
At times, when I was tired and hesitated a little when I spoke, he would gleefully say, “Mommy, you speak bumpy road!” and show me the card.
You can also use visual aids by writing the words your child finds difficulty in pronouncing. You can also write short sentences on flash cards and teach your child the right way to say them.
Put on your child’s favorite CD and start singing. It’s amazing that when a child sings, you don’t hear him or her stuttering. Make this a fun family time and bond with your child by singing along to happy songs.
Your child will feel good and you will feel calmer as well. Don’t restrict yourself to just English CDs. Tagalog songs are good, too. You can pop into your local bookshop like Fully Booked or National Bookstore and they would have a variety of children songs CDs.
I was very stressed when I was worried about Daniel’s speech. He picked up on it and because apprehensive each time he spoke as well which made his stammer worse. I am not making light of the seriousness of speech issues in children.
Rather, I am saying it does not help you nor your child if you got as worked up about it as I am. Relax, continue to be positive and praise your child when he or she speaks correctly.
At the end of the day, as I am not a doctor but merely a concerned parent, I do not want to be presumptuous and advise you that if you follow these tips, your child’s stutter will disappear. Your child may have a different speech issues. Whatever you do, it’s for the best of your child.
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