Tips for Speaking with a Child who Stutters

While studies have shown time and again that the behavior of parents does NOT cause a child to stutter, there are certain communicative practices that parents and other adults can engage in which a child who stutters to help increase their fluency and improve their self-image and emotional well-being. Do you have a child who stutters in your life? Use the following tips when speaking with them:

-Pay attention to your body language and facial expressions and make sure that you’re not conveying inattention or impatience. Children pick up on subtle non-verbal cues. Put extra effort into showing that you are giving your child your full attention and are focused on the content of their message, not their speech.

-Speak at a relaxed, unhurried pace, and use regular pauses. People often try to directly instruct children who stutter to “slow down”; however, simply slowing down your own speech can be remarkably effective, as people tend to mirror the communication patterns of those around them.

-Most people know that interrupting a person who stutters or finishing their sentences can be disruptive and emotionally damaging. However, take this one step further, and instead of simply following this practice yourself, correct others who do interrupt your child. If you notice someone speaking with your child and interrupting or finishing words, politely let them know that your child is able to say what they need to and it helps if they’re not interrupted. Most people genuinely aren’t aware that they’re being rude, and a simple mention of the issue can prevent a negative practice from becoming a habit.

Do you have a child who stutters? Share your communication tips in our comments section!

Do you think that you or someone you know may benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist? Contact Speech Associates of New York at 917-841-2965 or visit us on the web at We’ll pair you with one of our trained and certified speech-language pathologists who can provide in-home therapy to help address your speech, language, and communication needs.

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