Parents as Partners in Young Children's Stuttering Treatment

The meaning of the word "stuttering"

From: Ellen-Marie Silverman
Date: 10/6/00
Time: 9:32:59 AM
Remote Name:


I think parents troubled by their child's repetitions and/or other breaks in the fluent production of speech use the word stuttering as a label because they know no other word to describe what they are hearing, seeing, feeling, and concerned about when their child repeats or disrupts the flow of speech in some way. I don't think we should consider this labeling a diagnosis in the full meaning of the word. It is a label that parents have applied because they want help helping their child. We, as SLP's, need to understand the cicumstances (child's speech, parents' and child's reactions, family communication patterns) and make appropriate recommendations to help both the child and parent experience encouraging, satisfactory communication flow. In general, I'm not in favor of stopping a child when the child is stuttering by saying "Oh-oh," "That was rough," or similar evaluative statements. I think it is better to let the child finish what they want to say and, then, if they show signs of embarrasment, shame, and/or frustration reflect their feelings and, through speech and/or touch, help them interpret the experience as a positive growth motivator. Then, of course, it is important to respond sincerely to the verbal message itself. Throughout, I believe the parents' modeling of good oral communication, i.e., looking at the person speaking, listening attentively to all that is said and what is not said, speaking clearly in an attempt to "connect with" the other person, accepting ownership of intent, etc. is very important. Thank you for this provocative paper. Ellen-Marie Silverman

Last changed: September 12, 2005