Ideas for promoting fluency at home
Communication involves more than one person. Therefore, stuttering (a communicative disorder) involves more than the person who is doing the stuttering. It involves the family or those who are with the person. Stuttering is the result of the interaction of many things: the child, environmental factors, stress and tension.
You can help your dysfluent child by doing the following:
- Talk in a calmer, slower and more relaxed way. Pause about 2 seconds after your child finishes speaking before responding. This slows down the conversation rate.
- Use comments instead of questions: “Remember, we saw the zebra at the zoo.” Not, “What did you see? What color was it?” If questions are asked, give your child time to answer.
- Give your child time to talk. If you are on the phone and your child wants to say something to you, say “I’m talking to _____. Go get your Dr. Suess book and when you get back I’ll be able to talk.” (When he returns, be sure to talk to him!)
- Give time to each child, “Remember Sarah, we had our time, but now it’s Judy’s time.”
- Reduce verbal competition.
- Decrease interruptions. Allow children to finish their thoughts and stay tuned to the content. The message we should be giving children is “I care what you are saying to me (the child’s message) not how you are saying it.”
- Try to reduce pressures and demands placed on your child in their daily lives.
- Try to have a quiet time each day for reading, coloring or going for a walk.
- Maintaining eye contact with your child shows that you are listening. Be a tolerant listener.
- Remember most kids have a period of dysfluency.
- Avoid telling your child to:
- Slow down
- Take a deep breath
- Stop and start over
- Stop and think before speaking
- Also avoid:
- Finishing your child’s sentences
- Interrupting your child
- Speaking rapidly to your child
- Making your child give little speeches, plays or read aloud to visiting friends, relatives or neighbors
- A hectic lifestyle within the home
- Please remember that it is not your fault that your child is dysfluent; but you can choose to make some changes that will help your child. As parents we do the best we can.