There are many young children who demonstrate disfluencies in their speech as they go through the natural process of developing language, however these disfluencies look and sound different than stuttering. Consult a speech/language pathologist if you are unsure if what you’re seeing is “true stuttering.” If a differential diagnosis is made early on, the family can make use of the critical window of time that therapy is most effective.
HOW CAN TEACHERS HELP?
- Saying things like “slow down”, “think about what you want to say” or “take a deep breath” may help fluent speakers when they are stumbling on their words. However, children who stutter are disfluent for different reasons and these remarks often add more pressure and thus trigger more disfluencies. Instead slow your own rate of speech by adding pauses within your sentences at natural breaks, between your sentences and after the student finishes their thought to reduce pressure.