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Alison Beaver

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Easing the Pressure on Stuttering

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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Many children up to about the age of five will run into problems with stuttering. This is a completely normal stage of development and most children will outgrow it. For the ones who do not, stuttering can have an ongoing, profound affect on their lives.

Developmental stuttering is by far the most common type and begins in childhood and doesn't go away, continuing on into adulthood.

Neurogenic stuttering appears later in life, in a person who had no previous problem with it. It can be caused by a head injury or a stroke, or some other brain trauma. This type of stuttering is a relatively rare occurence.

If your child stutters, you can help them deal with it by being supportive and relaxed when they speak. Don't finish their sentences for them or display impatience or disapproval.

To make things more comfortable for friends who stutter, give them plenty of time to say what they are trying to say. Suggestions like "Relax," are in reality not relaxing. This just makes the afflicted person feel more self-conscious, and more pressured. And the outcome will probably be even more pronounced stuttering than before.

Some people who stutter find some relief from it in a few different activities. Some don't stutter when they sing, or recite. I was in a play years ago with a friend who stuttered. Except when he was saying his lines for the play. Then he had a beautiful speaking voice.

It may be helpful to see a speech-language pathologist (SLP). These are specialists in speech, language and voice disorders. For young children, early intervention with an SLP may help prevent some of the potential difficulties. But at any age, seeing an SLP may be helpful. They can provide different types of therapies which help the individual control their speaking patterns and habits.

Stuttering can sometimes be decreased by speaking slower, and by more controlled breathing. This also can help to ease the anxiety that so often occurs when a stutterer finds himself in a situation where he must speak. Reduced anxiety can sometimes reduce the tendency to stutter.

Stuttering is not a sign of lack of intelligence.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

People here are talking about the Stuttering Foundation. I agree it is a great organization, but for different reason. I came to the U.S. from Ecuador at age 13. The speech therapy in Ecuador was terrible, if a child received any attention at all. It was tough to navigate the speech therapy channels when we first arrived.

The Stuttering Foundation has a Spanish-language version of its website at www.tartamudez.org to help both the Hispanic population in the U.S. and also people in Latin American countries, where speech therapy is lights years behind the U.S. I wish that such great info had been available to my parents and I when we came to the U.S. There are so many Hispanic parents in the U.S. who do not know where to turn to help their stuttering kids.

I also like the Stuttering Foundation because it sends its materials free of charge to about 125 countries each year, mostly underdeveloped nations. The organization holds summer workshops for SLP's in third world nations so that they can learn the newest techniques and bring them back to their countries.

My parents and I were lost for the first three or four years after coming to the U.S. We did not know where to turn for speech therapy. I also want to mention that the website of the Stuttering Foundation has a brochure called "Special Education Law and Stuttering" which explains that every child in the U.S. who is enrolled in any school has the right to free therapy, from pre-school throughout high school. This right to free speech therapy applies to kids with ALL speech problems and not just stuttering. Every parent should know about this right to speech therapy and I applaud the Stuttering Foundation for taking the initiative to help parents and kids with the various speech problems.

December 20, 2009 - 7:40pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Great article, and Gloria and Bud got it right that The STuttering Foundation is a fantastic group to turn to for information and help. My bet is that everyone else got their information from this Foundation that has given so freely for the past 60 years. We are all in debt to the man, his wife, and family who are the reason we have this information!
Anne Smith

December 18, 2009 - 6:46am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I agree with Gloria that everyone should know about The Stuttering Foundation and how to contact them. When my uncles were growing up, they were the only group around to help as we had no speech therapists in the schools like now. The internet was not around then, but they were reaching out to anyone they could help. They were started by a stutterer whose daughter has kept the Foundation going with the main goal of helping those who stutter. Read about them on this page http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=134.
Bud

December 18, 2009 - 6:37am
GloriaM

Wonderful article about stuttering, but the oldest and best nonprofit source of help that was the biggest help for our family was left off! Everyone needs to know about The Stuttering Foundation where there are pages and pages of information, e-books, online videos, research articles, online newsletters, and lists of qualified speech therapists at www.stutteringhelp.org. This foundation offers some of their materials to public libraries so parents, teachers, employers, and stutterers have access to them. Their work making parents aware of how to help at home, when or if to see a speech therapist, and how teachers should treat a stutterer has made it easier for people who stutter. My child's life definitely would not be the same without this wonderful group. The foundation trains therapists to work with stutterers. For those who want to help everyone who stutters, this is where your donations are definitely well spent, too! You are helping to put more books and DVDs in every public library so more parents, teachers, and employers learn about stuttering and how to help.
Gloria

December 18, 2009 - 6:24am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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