Stammering (also known as stuttering) needs to be handled carefully, with a son who stammered as a toddler and working with a few stammering children over the years, I have always been interested in supporting these children.
Stammering can be a short development problem but can become a life long problem and personal difficulty.
Great advice and support is available from http://www.stammering.org/
We all know speech and language is imperative to be successful at school. Communication enables children to interactive successfully with friends, family and at school. Dysfluency, the repeating or words or sounds and getting stuck starting or at mid sentence makes children self conscious about their communication.
Between 2 and 5 years old children gain an enormous amount of language and usually they learn to speak well but occassionaly children develop problems and struggle then a temporary or more serious stammer occurs. There is no absolute way to tell if a child experiencing these problems at the developmental stage will develop a permanent stammer.
Why does a stammer occur?
Some professionals believe that the demands on speaking can cause a stammer. A noisy environment, an exciting time, demands of parents to speak well, the demand for clear speech etc. may influence whether a child develops a stammer.
Certainly, in my son's case he was so enquisitive and wanted to talk and share his ideas with adults, often his brain was producng the ideas before his speech development was able to convert into clear sentences. His whole body would tense as he tried to splurge the info at full speed.
How can I help a child stammering?
Firstly, stay calm yourself, allow time for the child to speak and never finish what they are saying for them.
Here's a list of good strategies
Listen to what the child is saying and not how they are saying it
Slow down your own rate of talking
Respond kindly and uncritically
Reduce the number of questions, include closed question where a yes and no repsonse is required
Always allow the child time to finish their sentence
Never complete the sentence for the child or interupt the child
Keep calm and ignore the stammer
Never echo the stammer back to the child or be sarcastic
Routines are always good, structured home and school routines help
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