How parents can help kids overcome stuttering

Upon winning the presidential election in 2020, Joe Biden inspired people from all walks of life. President Biden, who first ran for the Oval Office in 1988, proved a model of perseverance, ultimately reaching the highest political office in the United States after seeking the Democratic Party nomination on three previous occasions. President Biden’s political perseverance is well known, but a private battle the 46th President of the United States fought is equally impressive and inspiring.

Throughout his childhood and into young adulthood, President Biden dealt with a stutter. According to the Stuttering Foundation, President Biden credits his mother, Catherine Biden, with helping him overcome his stutter and not let it define him. Parents of children who stutter can follow Catherine Biden’s lead as they aim to help their children overcome stuttering.

• Learn as much as possible about stuttering. Knowledge of stuttering can help parents make the most informed decisions about how to help their child overcome a stutter. The National Stuttering Association offers a host of free resources via its website at www.westutter.org. Information is up-to-date and pertains to the latest research and treatment methods.

• Enlist the help of professionals. President Biden is one of millions of people who have overcome their issues with stuttering. Many of those people have benefitted from the help of speech-language pathologists who specialize in treating children who stutter. The NSA notes that it’s a mistake for parents to assume children will outgrow stuttering without intervention. Parents can learn more about specialists who treat stuttering by visiting the American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders at www.stutteringspecialists.org.

• Don’t shy away from stuttering. The NSA notes that talking about a child’s stuttering will not make the child stutter more, but may actually help a youngster overcome it. The NSA urges parents to treat stuttering just how they would any other difficulty children may encounter when learning a complex skill. Positivity, patience and unconditional support can help children overcome a stutter.

• Decrease time pressures. According to the NSA, allowing pauses and silence during conversation will help parents create a more supportive environment for their children. These pauses and silences ensure children with a stutter that they do not have to act or speak quickly, which can trigger stuttering. Reduce interruptions during conversation and make sure all family members recognize the importance of taking turns in conversation.

These are just some of the strategies parents can employ to help children overcome stuttering. More tips and information about stuttering is available at www.westutter.org.

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