As a parent or caregiver, the first thing we want to say is:
Do not blame yourself - you have not caused your child’s stammer.
The following ideas are based on information from speech & language therapists and research, but we suggest that you seek clinical advice from your speech and language therapist who will be able to guide you through ways to support the specific needs of your child.
- Introduce a 5 minute family time to share general successes and worries to increase self-awareness, confidence and problem solving.
- Emphasise what makes a confident communicator rather than emphasising speaking smoothly. Talk about success: sharing ideas, making friends, sharing a joke and asking questions to take an interest in others.
- Try asking one simple question at a time.
- Use pauses and slow speech yourself.
- Take clear turns so they do not feel rushed and know that their message will be fully heard.
- If your child is comfortable, ask them directly: ‘What would you like me to do when your talking is bumpy?’ or 'what can I do to help when you get stuck on a word?'
Encourage good sleeping and eating habits as we know that children can stammer more when they are feeling tired and run-down.
- Work together with your child’s educational setting to find the best strategies for home and school.
Should you need clinical support, we would suggest speaking with your GP or school to help you make a referral to your local speech & language therapy service.