Although there is currently no cure for stuttering, there are treatments that can be customized to a child’s age and other factors.
Seeking early treatment is important. It may prevent developmental stuttering (when a child is young) from becoming a lifelong problem. Health professionals generally recommend that a child be evaluated if he or she has stuttered for three to six months. They also recommend an evaluation if there is a family history of stuttering or related communication disorders.
Treatment often involves teaching parents ways to support their child as they develop their language skills.
Parents are often encouraged to:
- Listen attentively when the child speaks. Be patient. Try not to interrupt or finish a child’s sentences. Focus on the content of the message rather than how it is said.
- Speak in a slightly slowed and relaxed manner. This can help reduce the time pressure the child may be experiencing.
- Provide a relaxed home environment that allows many opportunities for the child to speak. This includes one-on-one time with a parent.
- Be less demanding on the child to speak in a certain way or to perform verbally for people. This is especially important if such pressure upsets the child or causes them more difficulty in speaking.