As kids learn to speak, all sorts of experiments with language take place–repeating syllables at the beginnings and ends of words, stopping and starting phrases in unusual places. But are these symptoms of stuttering? Should parents be concerned?
Less involved than visiting a speech therapist, this DVD available at area libraries (listed below), may yield some help. Created by the Stuttering Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children who stutter and their families, “Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents” directs parents to understand what to look and listen for in pre-school-age children who might stutter.
“Many children start to stutter as early as age two,” says Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation. “If they do, there are many things you can do to help. It’s really important for parents to know that they don’t cause stuttering.”
The Stuttering Foundation website (stutteringhelp.org) and Facebook page also offers a wealth of support, including a “Just for Kids” section that speaks to children in easy-to-understand language about everything from what makes people stutter to dealing with teasing. There are also tips on how to talk with a child who stutters.
“Don’t bombard them with questions,” says Fraser, “say ‘I wonder’ instead, and the communication door opens.”
And there are plenty of famous people with a stutter to inspire: Emily Blunt, Winston Churchill, Joe Biden, and the voice of Mustafa himself, James Earl Jones. How is it that actors and singers can say and sing their lines perfectly?
“When reading lines for a movie or play, you know the words by heart,” says Fraser. “For some people, word retrieval or finding the words may play a role in stuttering.”
“We’re teaching good communication skills, to parents and children,” says Fraser. “That builds confidence, and that’s wonderful for every child––whether they stutter or not.”
Look for the “Stuttering and Your Child” DVD at the following area libraries:
• Plymouth District Library; Ann Arbor, MI
• Ann Arbor Public Library; Ann Arbor, MI
• Chelsea District Library; Chelsea, MI
• Dexter District Library; Dexter, MI
• Milan Public Library; Milan, MI
• Saline District Library; Saline, MI
• Ypsilanti District Library; Ypsilanti, MI