Stuttering in Children

Most children become very talkative as they develop language skills in early childhood. Some kids will even repeat certain syllables and words as they speak. But does this mean they have a stuttering problem? Pamela with speaks with Lisa Massaro, a Speech Language Pathologist at The Montreal Children's Hospital about how to identify the symptoms of stuttering in childrenand how they can overcome it.
Pamela: What advice do you have to parent who thinks that his or her child might be stuttering?
Lisa Massaro: Probably the first thing, and the best thing they can do, is observe what’s happening, to take a mental note of whether it is fluctuating over time, if it’s cyclical, if it happens every day, what situations seem to increase the amount of stuttering. Then once they have got a handle on that, and at the same time, they really need to focus on what their child is saying and not how they’re saying it. They have to be careful not give what they think are helpful hints like “slow down,” “take a deep breath,” “think before you speak,” or finish their sentences, because those helpful hints, in fact, don’t help and may even increase stuttering over the long run. Once they notice that stuttering has existed for more than six months, we would really suggest that they consult a speech language pathologist and have their child assessed. Some other good, general suggestions for families, while they’re waiting out those six months and seeing if it’s just transitory or if the child is going to stop stuttering all on their own, they can make sure their child has some well established routines. For example, they should have a routine bed time, a routine meal time. They should also take care to have consistent and fair discipline. As well children who are stuttering need lots of rest.
If you would like to view the full interview with Lisa Massaro, click here.