Preschool Stuttering Therapy
The goal of preschool stuttering therapy is to help a young child develop normal fluency. Parents/guardians play an active role in helping their child produce fluent speech. As you know, a parent is the most important person in his/her child's life. You are your child's daily teacher; therefore, it is essential parents participate in therapy and learn how to provide therapy on a daily basis in the home environment. But don't worry, you (the parent) will be slowly taken through the process, trained, given feedback, and encouraged along the way. A best practice approach is used and therapy is structured around the needs of your child. Typically, the Lidcombe Program is used for preschool therapy in addition to traditional methods.
Frequently Asked Questions about Preschool Stuttering
Why is my child stuttering? Will he outgrow it?
5% of preschoolers go through periods of disfluency and 1% of the adult population stutters. This means 80% of preschoolers will outgrow it on their own. Therefore, stuttering can be a normal developmental phase. We also know that stuttering is neurological and genetic and it typically begins between the ages of 2.5 - 5 years old. Some children have a stronger predisposition to go through periods or stuttering. It is not the parents’ fault (so don’t feel guilty!) and it is not caused by trauma, birth of a new baby, moving, potty training etc.
When should we get therapy?
While we know 80% of preschoolers will outgrow stuttering we cannot determine if your child is in this group. What we do know is therapy is highly effectively and children who participate in preschool stuttering therapy are more likely to develop normal fluency. Typically, we asked parents to wait 6 months and see if the stuttering goes away on its own. However, therapy is recommended if any of the following is occurring:
the child has been stuttering for more than 6 months
the child is upset/frustrated with his talking
the parent is very concerned
there is a family history of stuttering, anxiety, bi-polar, or ADHD
It’s so hard to watch my child struggle!
It is so difficult to watch your child struggle to communicate. But just know, it is harder on the parent then it is on the child. Preschool children do not carry the emotion of stuttering with them. They stutter and are frustrated in the moment, but then a few seconds later they are happy playing again.
What can I do to help my child before getting therapy?
Listen to your child talking, make eye contact, and try not to interrupt
If your child has siblings, try to encourage turn taking in talking to reduce time pressure
If your child is having a tough talking day, you can talk about it! Talking about stuttering will be helpful to your child and will actually relieve your child’s frustration. You can say, “Sometimes when we are 3 years old our words get stuck in our mouth, and that is frustrating/hard. But, I really like how you kept trying and you told me what you wanted to say!”
What is the Lidcombe Program?
The Lidcombe Program is a highly effective behavioral based therapy for preschool children who exhibit stuttering behaviors. The treatment is administered by a parent or caregiver in the child’s everyday environment. Parents learn how to do the treatment during weekly visits to the speech-language pathologist. During these visits, the speech-language pathologist teaches the parent by demonstrating various features of the treatment, observing the parent do the treatment, and giving parents feedback. This parent training is essential, because it is the speech-language pathologist’s responsibility to ensure that the treatment is done appropriately and is a positive experience for the child and the family.
For more information, please visit the Lidcombe Program Trainer's Consortium Homepage http://www.lidcombeprogram.org
My preschooler is stuttering a lot, does that mean he/she will always stutter?
It has been found the severity of a preschooler’s stutter does not determine if he/she will continue to stutter.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you have!