5 Helpful Ways to Stop a Child’s Stammering
There are many helpful ways to stop a child's stammering. The sooner the treatment begins, the better, so that the stammering won't be a problem in adulthood.
A child’s stammering can improve with different exercises. The sooner your child starts doing these, the easier it’ll be to control it. However, first, you have to find out when the stammering begins, on what occasions it happens, and with whom. This way you’ll be able to know the cause when you go to the specialist.
How to know if my child stammers
To determine if your child stammers, pay attention to how often he finds it difficult to speak, as soon as it happens. Try to find out if stammering runs in the family. Sometimes stammering has a genetic predisposition.
“Stammering is a neurological condition which makes it physically hard to speak. Someone who stammers will repeat, prolong or get stuck on sounds or words. There might also be signs of visible tension as the person struggles to get the word out.”
–The British Stammering Association (STAMMA)–
Pay attention to how long the stammering episode happens. As STAMMA explains: “About 8% of children will stammer at some point, but most will go on to talk fluently. Stammering affects mainly men and every ethnicity.”
Stammering happens during the first 4 years of age
You also need to pay attention to your child’s age. This is an essential part of establishing the why behind his stammering. Evolutionary stammering can happen between the first 3 or 4 years of age. This is the time period when the child starts repeating words, sometimes getting stuck in them and not knowing how to continue.
However, if your child is over 5 years old and still struggles with stammering, then it’s time to get help. The best thing you can do is go to an educational psychologist or pedagogue.
Carefully listen to your child and don’t pressure him. Don’t react negatively when he finds it difficult to speak, correct him without getting angry and praise him when he speaks fluently.
When you’re with other people, don’t push him to speak in a certain way, because this will embarrass him and it’ll be harder to correct the problem. Speak to him in a relaxed manner, and if he begins stammering, wait patiently for him to finish the phrase.
5 Helpful ways to stop a child’s stammering
If your child stammers, you can help him overcome this with the following simple exercises. To get the best results, practice them constantly.
Bear in mind that it might not be as easy for your child, so keep a positive and patient attitude. Also, complement these exercises with the help, guidance, and control of a specialist.
Record your child when he’s speaking slowly and also when he starts speaking fast, so he can tell the difference. Likewise, ask him to sing and sing with him too.
Record him so he notices that he stops stammering when he starts singing. Explain to him that when he sings, he handles better the amount of air he exhales.
The child now understands that he needs to work on his breathing, just as he does when he sings. Help him do diaphragmatic breathing exercises. Show him how to take a deep breath so the air travels to the diaphragm.
Before he speaks, he needs to take two deep breaths as if he were about to swim, breathe in all the air he can and hold it in a few seconds inside his diaphragm. Lastly, tell him to exhale slowly. Do it first so he can see how easy it really is.
These exercises can help him increase his lung capacity. Try to make it fun for him. For example, give him a balloon to blow by himself. You can also light some candles and see who can blow out the most candles with just one blow.
Another way is to play soccer with sticks, so you’ll need paper balls and two sticks. Blow through the sticks and try to make goals.
Imitate animal sounds
Imitating animal sounds can help him speak more fluently because it can stimulate his vocal cords. It’ll improve the problem, and it’ll be fun to do as well.
Stimulating tongue and lips
This exercise consists of sticking their tongue in and out, without touching the lips, and see how far it can go. Repeat up to 20 times. Encourage him to do it faster, and then to slow down.
Another exercise to help stop a child’s stammering is trying to touch his nose with the tip of his tongue. This way, his tongue will grow stronger and it’ll be easier to move it properly.