Stuttering may seem like a serious impediment at first glance, but you’d be hard pressed to argue that people like Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, John Updike, and King George VI—who all stuttered—had their careers held back as a result. More recently, actress Emily Blunt and America’s Got Talent contestant Drew Lynch, who took to the stage on May 26th to perform his winning three minutes of stand-up comedy, have been more open about how their stutters have affected their communication. Lynch presents a very unusual cause of stuttering, but his routine does highlight the challenges and feelings that people have, both adults and children, when experiencing a communication difficulty.

These examples brought forth by celebrities show that in spite of difficulties with stuttering, either as a child or adult, they have gone on to lead very successful and happy lives. There are many different techniques and options for speech therapy treatment which always begins with an assessment. Once the assessment is completed the Speech Language Pathologist (S-LP) will recommend the treatment, options that are best for you or your child.

For parents or teachers at school, there are many things that you can do to help a child who stutters to communicate more easily, participate more fully in class, and most importantly, feel better about talking aloud. If you are a parent of a child who stutters, share this information with your child’s classroom teacher:

– Give your child plenty of time to answer questions.
– Don’t finish your child’s sentences or try to offer words when he or she is stuttering. If you guess the wrong word (or finish the sentence incorrectly), the struggle may increase.
– Refrain from telling your child to “slow down”, “relax” or “think before you try to speak” as this advice can be discouraging and keep him or her from wanting to communicate.
– If your child has an extremely difficult time talking in front of the whole class, modify the activity. Don’t excuse him or her from the activity. For example, instead of having your child say his or her speech in front of the whole class, he or she can say it in front of smaller sized groups. Be flexible.
– Most people who stutter have “good” and “bad” days. If you see that your child is having a day when his or her speech appears easier, get involved in enjoyable “communication activities” that promote positive feelings about communication.
– Enjoy what your child has to say and try and put less focus on how he or she says things.

The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada offer speech and language assessments and therapy in Toronto and the surrounding areas. Contact us today if your child is having difficulties with stuttering. We have no wait lists and our speech-language pathologists will work with you to develop ways to support your child’s speech therapy.