Dear Jacqui, I am concerned about my child in preschool who is stammering. Please could you give me some advice about how to support her?
Please get in touch with a Speech and Language therapist for an assessment. Here is some general advice for young children who have ‘easy’ repetitions of sounds or words without distress:
- Listen carefully to what your child is saying and not how she is saying it.
- Slow down your rate of talking.
- Reduce your number of questions and give the child time to answer.
- Allow time for your child to finish what she has to say.
- Make sure that everyone takes turns when talking in the family and allow everyone time to talk.
- Try to arrange some time when your child can have your undivided attention in a calm atmosphere i.e. for five to ten minutes.
- Praise your child for the things she does well as this helps to build her confidence.
- Keep easy eye contact while you are talking to the child, especially when she stammers.
- Try to stay calm and be relaxed; your child will sense your anxiety about her stammer. You may need support and reassurance from a Speech and Language therapist to do this.
Some young children who stammer need more time to process thoughts and language as these skills are developing. They will do better in a less stressed and more routine, structured environment both at home and at school.