Both a family-based prevention program and more direct stuttering intervention are available for preschool and school-aged children.
Indirect treatment is used primarily with very young children. The therapy, modeled and directed by an experienced speech-language pathologist, is implemented by parents or caregivers. One of the most successful indirect treatment methods is the Lidcombe Program. Developed in Australia, this method is supported by impressive research.
Parents, under the supervision of a specially trained speech-language pathologist, provide indirect intervention in the child’s natural environment—the home. The treatment supports the development of fluent speech before a child develops speaking fears and avoidance behaviors. Kathy Swiney is a trained Lidcombe Program provider.
Another type of therapy for school-aged children with equally robust research, is the Gradual Increase in Length and Complexity of Utterance, or GILCU method.
This research-based treatment focuses on both increasing fluency and decreasing speaking fears. This highly regarded method relies on more direct therapy by the clinician with carryover strategies implemented by parents or caregivers.
Depending on the unique needs of the child and family, these two methods are often combined to maximize opportunities for success.
Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents
This excellent video is from the Stuttering Foundation of America. More information is available at: stutteringhelp.org
How to create an environment which supports fluency.
Teen & Adult Stuttering
The speech of people who stutter (PWS) contains both fluent and disfluent expressions. Fluency shaping techniques use a speaker’s existing fluency and expand it into more language contexts and speaking situations. Recognizing the fluent parts of his or her speech helps PWS create a more positive view of speaking which, in turn, reduces speaking tension. When speaking anxiety decreases, the ease and fluency of speech increases.
This treatment method provides the speaker with strategies to modify the form and intensity of the stuttering moment. The emotional aspects of stuttering are also addressed with the goal of developing healthier attitudes and reactions to the speaking experience. Speakers also learn ways to disclose the fact that they stutter, reduce speaking avoidance, and develop self-advocacy skills. These practices allow PWS to speak with more confidence – whether they stutter or not.
For adults and teens who stutter, intervention focuses on increasing communication confidence and reducing speaking anxiety in the social, academic, and professional activities in which they participate. Formal therapy is a combination of clinician and patient directed intervention.
In addition to more structured techniques, “talking therapy” is often a part of individualized treatment plans. This treatment method encourages speakers to increase overall communication attempts rather than focus only on decreasing stuttering.
Straight Talk for Teens
Ed Sheeran, a person who stutters, describes himself as “a very weird child”. He encourages young people who stutter to “embrace their quirks” and not let stuttering hinder their dreams.