Yes, my child stutters.
Yes, he goes to speech therapy.
No, he isn’t nervous.
These are phrases I recite to people daily. It’s exhausting for me, but I can’t imagine how hard it is for my son. Seeing him stutter and stammer is gut-wrenching and I wish I could take this away from him. However, that is not our reality.
It’s hard to pinpoint when his stuttering began. He has always been in Speech Therapy since his premature birth, but this is a new issue. It has been such a hard experience navigating his stuttering, and I want other parents who are experiencing the same that they are not alone.
This week is National Stuttering Awareness Week.
It’s my goal to spread awareness about stuttering and how to treat those who struggle. I’m hopeful that through this it can lessen bullying from other kids and even adults.
My child stutters and this is what I want you to know ::
- Avoid finishing his thoughts if he starts stuttering. He is not trying to find the right word; he just needs time to finish. While you may think that this is helpful, it can make him feel self-conscious.
- Be patient. This is something my household struggles with, but it’s very important to let him speak no matter how long it takes. We never want to discourage him from talking. We want him to be able to speak up for himself in all situations.
- Don’t mock him. Having 3 young sons, it’s hard for them to not get frustrated with him and possibly mock him. I can imagine it’s hard for his friends as well. Please tell your children that everyone is different and to give him a chance and to be kind.
- Just listen. Focus on what he is saying, not how he is saying it. It will take him longer but he deserves to be heard.
This summer my son has the opportunity to go to Camp Dream. Speak. Live. This is a week-long summer camp offered by the University of Texas for children who stutter. I’m very excited for him to attend this camp. I’m hopeful he will learn strategies and gain confidence.
Does your child stutter? Anything to share?