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Stuttering: How to improve speech fluency before starting therapy?

Even though stuttering is not caused by any behavioral, attitudinal, or environmental factors, you can nevertheless help by creating an environment that is favorable to communication, in which your child can feel they can express themselves more easily.

  • Speak in an unhurried manner: Wait a couple of seconds after your child has finished speaking before you begin to speak and pause frequently.
  • Reformulate any stuttered words instead of asking your child to repeat them correctly: Reformulate their stuttered word or sentence in a calm manner and carry on with the conversation normally. Excessively correcting your child will likely aggravate the stuttering problem and discourage them from engaging in conversations.
  • Take time to listen to your child: Do not interrupt your child when they are talking and give them time to express their thoughts. When your child is speaking to you, give them your undivided attention and look at them. They will feel that they can express themselves freely without the fear of being interrupted. This will improve speech fluency.
  • Let your child be the one to complete any stuttered words: When your child is stuttering, they know what they are trying to say. Avoid saying the word for them as this can end up discouraging them.
  • Avoid giving advice to your child on how to speak: Giving them advice, such as to slow down their speech or to take a deep breath before talking, can add more stress to their situation, causing the stuttering to worsen rather than making speech more fluid.

Focus more on what your child is saying to you and less on how they are saying it. Give positive feedback. It is important to keep criticisms at a minimum. A person who feels good and competent will improve faster than one who does not.

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Updated on 3/20/2015
Created on 1/16/2015
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The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s Mélio Fund – formerly the Fondation Mélio – is an essential pillar of support for the centre of excellence in musculoskeletal disorders and in rehabilitation medicine. It is dedicated to providing ongoing and indispensable support for the 5,000 children with locomotor or speech impairments being cared for at the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME).


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