Stuttering therapy, also called fluency therapy, is a type of therapy is provided by a Speech Therapist for children and adults who stutter. It is important to know that some children go through periods of dysfluency or stuttering during their early childhood/preschool years. These stutters can come and go as a child’s speech and language skills develop. They are often seen during periods of rapid language development when a child’s motor system may not be able to keep up with all of the things a child wants to say. It is also important to know that all of us (even as adults) stutter from time to time. Occasional stutters are nothing to worry about. However, sometimes stuttering becomes more persistent or severe in some children and can cause them to have difficulty communicating successfully with others. In these cases, the individual may need stuttering therapy to overcome their stuttering.
If the child stutters consistently for long periods of time, such as longer than 6 months
If their is a family history of stuttering (even if the person was able to overcome stuttering with therapy)
If the child stutters on individual sounds or parts of words (B-b-b-b-but I w-w-w-w-want to go!) as opposed to whole words or phrases (I think, I think, I think I might want to play)
If the child seems to get stuck trying to get a sound out and will either hold a sound or not make any noise while looking like they are struggling to push the sound out.
If the child becomes noticeably upset when unable to communicate due to stuttering.
How does stuttering therapy work?
If your child qualifies for stuttering therapy, your speech therapist will decide on a therapy technique that is best for your child. There are two major types of stuttering therapy: Indirect Stuttering Therapy: This type of therapy may be used with a young children who are not yet aware of their stuttering. This stuttering therapy focuses on how to talk slowly and what smooth vs. bumpy speech sounds like. In this type of therapy, the therapist will not directly point out that the child is stuttering but instead the therapist will have the child identify smooth or bumpy speech in their own speech. Since many young children often resolve their stuttering on their own, just making children more aware of smooth vs. bumpy speech can be enough to help guide their speech toward being consistently fluent. Direct Stuttering Therapy: When a child is more aware that they are stuttering or in adults, the therapist will likely take a more direct approach. In this approach, the therapist will talk with the child about stuttering, help the child identify when they are stuttering as well as when the therapist does it, and then teach the child strategies they can use to prevent or resolve dysfluencies once they happen.
Different Types of Stutters:
An abnormal stop in speech where no sound comes out: "I___________went to the store yesterday."
Part-word or sound/syllable repetitions: "Look at the b-b-baby"
Whole-word repetitions: "But-but I don't want to go"
Phrase repetitions: "This is a-this is a problem"
Abnormal stretching of a sound: "I wwwwwwwwwwent to the store yesterday."
Saying filler words: "like," "um," "uh," and "er" frequently in speech
Hesitations in speech lasting over a second long
Going back and rephrasing a sentence or phrase
Not finishing a word or avoiding certain words or sounds that they know they will stutter on
Excessive physical movements during a stutter: eye blinks, poor eye contact, looking around, head movements,