Have you ever met a child with a stutter, and not known how to talk to them?
I've had many people ask me over the years what to do when their child, (or any child), stutters because I have one myself. I compiled some of the most important things to keep in mind when conversing with someone who has a stutter below.
Enjoy and please share with others. :)
I know this may seem simple, but listening can be often overlooked. When I say listen, I mean REALLY listen. Oftentimes, if a child has a stutter, they don’t feel like talking anyway because stuttering can be exhausting. Don’t make it harder for them by not listening.
2. Encourage independence
As a parent, part of your job is help fortify your child to be a functioning member of society. But when your kid stutters, they might be more inclined to shy away from doing things independently. But even if you are not a parent, you can still encourage those who stutter to try new things because everyone could use a supporter!
From my personal experience, my mom always encouraged me to order my own food, or to make phone calls (both of the things that I hated doing when I was younger). I am very grateful that she gently pushed me because those things have been easier to do as an adult.
So, the next time that your child, or your friend who stutters, is ready to order at a restaurant, encourage them to speak up and order their food for themselves. When they are in the dressing room and they need a different size, build them up so that they can ask for it themselves. It might not be easy now, but it is always worth it in the long run.
3. Be a comforter
Sometimes when I would experience a really intense block, my mom would simply hold my hand, rub my back gently, or take a deep breath with me. In those moments of deep frustration, I found that I could relax and regain my fluency again when she comforted me. These strategies are nice to do because they can be discreet, and they don’t break up the rhythm of the conversation. These small gestures can give a child with a stutter a quick reminder to take a deep breath, or to start their sentence over again.
4. Let them finish
Try your best to not finish their sentences for them. As someone who stutters, this can be really frustrating. Instead, wait for them to say what they want to say ... even if it takes longer than you anticipated.
Even though they might be slower to speak, that doesn’t make them any less intelligent or capable to do anything that a non-stuttering child can do. For more tips and tricks on fluency, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Give Circle Creek Therapy a call at 253.237.3405 to learn more!