Using the Internet with Children Who Stutter

Re: Topics for discussion

From: Lynne Shields
Date: 10/23/00
Time: 2:20:51 PM
Remote Name:



You ask several good questions. If I am working directly with a child on their stuttering, then I usually begin having the parent(s) participate in therapy as soon as possible. Meaning, as soon as the parent and child are comfortable with it. When the parent and child are spending five or ten minutes of a treatment session doing an activity together, it often acts to open up the communication channels between the parent and child. It becomes easier and more natural for them to talk together outside of therapy about stuttering.

What I might do with them in clinic depends very much on the particular parent-child pair. (It may even be different for the same child with each of their parents.) For example, with one child, I had Mom come into the room at the end of several sessions to have the child teach her how to stutter like he did. In other cases, where either one feels more sensitive about talking directly about stuttering, we might just play a game together the first few times, so that it becomes a place where they both feel comfortable together. The talk about stuttering can come later. I try to keep it light and fun, and successful for both child and parent.

If the child and I are looking at sites on the internet, then I ask the child if they would like to show it/them to their parent(s). This is another nice way to get the parents involved, and talking with their child about stuttering.

At any rate, once the child and parent are dealing with the stuttering together, it becomes quite natural for the child to tell Mom or Dad what they worked on, and for the child and I to agree on an outside activity for the child, with specific instructions for how the parent is to help. I like the child to tell the parent what the "rules" are.

However you go about getting parent and child talking, the important thing is to GET THEM TALKING. I don't like for the stuttering to be an unspoken issue at home. A parent may think they are not putting pressure on the child by not talking about the stuttering. The child may interpret this as the stuttering being such a big deal that it's too 'hot' to talk about.

Your other question relates to how I ask parents to talk with their child to promote fluency. I'm assuming that you mean parents of young children who stutter. Again, it varies depending on the child, parent(s) and situation. But, generally, with very young children, I do encourage the parent to try using a somewhat slower rate of speech themselves, with longer pause times (where you might ordinarily insert a comma or period in written language). There is support for this in the stuttering literature. If there is quite a lot of time pressure, such as lots of competition among siblings for parents' attention, then we may talk about ways that this can be remedied in the home. I usually ask the parents to suggest ways to reduce interruptions or whatever is causing the time pressure for their child.

I hope that I've answered your questions, at least in part. Best of luck to you.



Last changed: September 12, 2005