Helping Children Develop Healthy Attitudes Toward Stuttering. Part I

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					               Helping Children Develop
                   Healthy Attitudes
                  Toward Stuttering


S       tuttering

C
W
            enter
                 of
          estern Pennsylvania
                                                             J. Scott Yaruss,
                                                                        Ph.D.

                                                                              Stuttering Center
A partnership between Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Department of    of Western
    Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh
                                                                               Pennsylvania
                                                                        University of Pittsburgh
Wait a minute!!!

      What do you mean by,
        “Healthy Attitudes
      Toward Stuttering” ?!?
           Attitude Matters
• Stuttering can have a profound impact on
  children‟s ability to succeed in life
   – But…it doesn’t have to be this way!

• As NSP parents, you know that the most
  successful adult speakers are those who
  have been able to accept their stuttering
  – Like stuttering, the process of developing
    healthy attitudes can begin in early
    childhood
It is not stuttering
that holds people back...

    It is how people react
          to their stuttering
How should we expect
  children to react
   to stuttering?
   Feelings about Stuttering
• It is normal for children to have emotions
  and feelings about their stuttering
  – It is also normal for you to have emotions
    about feelings about your child‟s stuttering


       Children don‟t always understand
       their feelings…you can help!
     The Traditional Role of
            Parents
• In speech therapy, parents typically
  receive lots of advice about how to help
  children speak more fluently
  – “Slow down your own speech”
  – “Pause before speaking”
  – “Shorten and simply your sentences”
  – “Don‟t interrupt the child”
  – “Don‟t tell the child to „slow down‟”
Helping children speak
more fluently is good...


          …but it‟s not enough!!!
 So…what else
can parents do?
Parents Can Also Help
     Children...
• Understand what they are doing when
  they stutter and how to change it
• Learn how to react to stuttering and how
  to deal with other people’s reactions
• Interpret what it means to have a
  speech disorder and (for older children)
  accept it
• Feel acceptance regardless of their
  speech
    Parents Can…WHAT?!?
• Many parents have their own issues and
  concerns about stuttering, making it
  difficult to react supportively
• Plus, parents are consistently told not to
  react to their children‟s stuttering…
  – “Do nothing at any time, by word or deed or
    posture or facial expression, that would
    serve to call attention to interruptions in
    (your child's) speech.
                                 – (Johnson, 1962)
      The Parent‟s Dilemma
• Watching children stutter is hard!
  – It is nearly impossible to watch our children
    struggle with any difficulty without trying to
    do something--anything--to help them

• So...the advice to “just ignore it” is in
  direct conflict with our parental instincts
  – The advice is wrong...our instincts are
    right!
        Is It Really Okay
    to Talk about Stuttering?
• In a word…YES!
  – “There are no published reports of a
    relationship between discussing...stuttering
    and sustained increases in the frequency or
    severity of stuttering”
                     »--Zebrowski & Schum (1993)

  – Children who stutter do not respond
    adversely when parents provide feedback
    about their speech fluency.
                      »--Lincoln & Onslow (1997)
        Keeping Talking in
          Perspective
• Talking is just another motor skill
  young children need to develop
• It is perfectly normal for young children
  to make mistakes when learning to talk
  – Children make mistakes when learning every other
    motor behavior and we accept it without concern
• For older children who stutter, we need to
  recognize that stuttering is normal for them
  Why Talk about Stuttering?

I felt isolated and    This problem is so
 frustrated…like
                       awful that my
  stuttering was       parents can't
 something to be       bear to talk...
    ashamed of         about it.



Some quotes
 from adults
 who stutter
                      --Rustin & Cook
                                (1995)
    Why Talk about Stuttering?
• Break the “Conspiracy of Silence”
  (Starkweather & Givens-Ackerman, 1997)
• Help children understand stuttering
• Help children feel more comfortable about
  their speaking abilities
• Help children learn how to react to stuttering
• Help to normalize stuttering
Okay, So…
  What Should We Say?




                (It depends…)

				
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posted:4/11/2008
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