Strategies to Prevent and Treat Stuttering in Children
Educators can do a lot to prevent stuttering. To this end, it is necessary to adhere to the principles of speech hygiene that we have set out in the chapter on speech development.
- That the environment ignores all difficulties in the development of children’s speech, that the child does not pay attention to them
- That instead the educators talk to the child as much as possible in a calm and clear way
- That the family, school and other educational environments treat the child in the most correct way possible
- To treat a left-handed and dyslexic child properly
- To try to remove all emotional difficulties as soon as possible, while they have not yet caused neurotic disorders
Instructions for Dealing with Stuttering in Children
When the child begins to stutter, the following instructions should be followed:
- Not to warn of cramps during speech, not to require him to repeat words in which he stammered
- Not show concern and fear regarding speech
- Not to scold, ridicule and punish a child for stuttering
- Talk to the stuttering child in a calm, slow and friendly way, not showing that we are bothered by his speech difficulties
- Give the child as many opportunities as possible to speak precisely in those situations when he feels a certain insecurity; not sparing the child in speech; this is especially important in school, because teachers often make the mistake of questioning a stuttering child less often than other children, or allowing him to answer only in writing; thereby increasing his insecurity and supporting stuttering
- Look for the causes of emotional difficulties and do everything possible to eliminate or at least alleviate them; in this, educators usually need the professional help of a counseling center or dispensary for psychohygiene
- Give the child as often as possible the opportunity to affirm himself in various ways, especially in school and family
- Stimulate the child’s sociality as much as possible
- Subject the child to outpatient psychotherapy, first individually and then in groups; it will also include practicing the child in a calm, relaxed speech technique
- Stimulate the child to apply this speech technique at every opportunity, especially where he is afraid: to speak with full lungs, slow, stretched, as if singing, to connect a few words as a whole, to breathe enough before each new sentence air to articulate voices well, to speak loudly
- Encourage the child to recite, discuss, give presentations, read his compositions and the like
- Emphasize any progress in speech rehabilitation with constant encouragement
Importance of Emotional Support in Stuttering Rehabilitation
The treatment of stuttering lasts on average half to one year, if it is carried out regularly, i.e., with 2-3 psychotherapy sessions per week, and with the simultaneous consultation of parents and teachers. If the child is of normal intelligence, he should attend regular school. It is not necessary to place stuttering children in special wards, and it is harmful if they are isolated in special institutions.
In conclusion, stuttering can be prevented or treated effectively by following the principles of speech hygiene, providing emotional support, and employing various strategies for encouraging calm and relaxed speech. It is important for educators, parents, and healthcare professionals to work together to support children with stuttering difficulties and help them lead fulfilling lives.