Stuttering Awareness Week: Dos and Don’ts

Written by: Tara Gray, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

In honor of National Stuttering Awareness Week in the United States, we want to help you understand the difference between the natural period of disfluency your child may be experiencing and a child who stutters. Here at Small Talk, we have therapists who specialize in, and love working with children who stutter. We are happy to speak with you over the phone, at any time, to help you determine if your child needs an evaluation and to answer any questions you may have.

In the meantime, here are some helpful Dos and Don’ts:  

  1. Don’t interrupt the child. If you can, stop what you are doing, give them your undivided attention, and let them finish.
  2. Don’t guess what they’re trying to say or complete their sentences for them, just give them time to say what they want.
  3. Don’t comment on how they say things (stuttered or not). Instead, respond to the content of what they say.
  4. Do model natural sounding, slowed speech when talking with them. But don’t speak like someone who is moving in slow motion, instead add extra pauses in your speech.
  5. Don’t tell the child to slow down or try words again.
  6. Don’t bombard your child with questions all the time, instead comment on what your child is doing.
  7. Do practice patience when communicating with your child and each other, model relaxed, slowed speech. 
  8. Do try to remove time constraints and rushed scheduling. We know this is difficult with the busy schedules we all keep but, during the language development years, this is super important. These little ones are trying to take it all in and feel pressure when their vocabulary is just developing. They have so much to say but it just takes them a bit longer to do it.

Finally, please share this information with grandparents, caregivers, teachers, and other family members. Remember, it takes a village!

If you have a child in your life who stutters, you can use these tips to improve your interactions and conversations with them. For additional information about stuttering, the National Stuttering Association website has a plethora of resources and information available. #WESTUTTER