I hope pediatricians and professionals realize the utmost importance of early interventon and preschool referring children who stutter to a SLP with expertise in stuttering. Although 80% of children reportedly outgrow stuttering on their own, there is no way for us to know which children will stop. Sometimes small changes in the child's environment are enough to facilitate fluency. Parent are often relieved after a visit to a stuttering specialist. There is a list of referrals of speech pathologists who specialize in stuttering on www.stutteringhelp.org, the website of the Stuttering Foundation of America. Some quick suggestions when talking to a child who stutters are:
1. Maintain eye contact
2. Listen to the message not how it is said
3. Refrain from saying relax
4. Refrain from saying slow down
5. Try and insert pauses in your own speech to model a slower rate of speech
6. Comment instead of asking direct questions (ex: I wonder what you did in school today etc)
Some warning signs are: a history of stuttering in the family, stuttering for greater than 3 months, signs of struggle, prolongation of sounds, and refer immediately if a child stops talking, show signs of awareness or a parent appears very worried. Again, we have no way of telling which children will stop on their own.
I use Lidcombe for preschool children but developed P.A.C.E to add a parent counseling component. Please contact me with any comments or questions.