Just here for the free stuttering parent handout? Go ahead and skip to the bottom, but if you want a few rock-solid tips first, read on! 😉
As pediatric SLPs, we often have the privilege of supporting parents. Because stuttering can be variable and unique, many parents don’t fully understand it. They see their child becoming frustrated or dealing with negative feelings and emotions, and it can be very distressing for all involved.
The good news is parents will often turn to speech therapists for support, and we have the opportunity to be a valuable resource for them. Let’s chat about 5 important ways that SLPs can effectively support parents of kids who stutter.
1. Provide education about stuttering
It’s important for parents to have a good understanding of what stuttering is and what it is not. There are a lot of myths and inaccurate information out there that can mislead parents and give false expectations. SLPs can answer questions, provide specific feedback, and give them stuttering parent handouts.
Therapists are essential in teaching different stuttering techniques and being there to explain true information and facts about their child’s stuttering.
2. Offer guidance on how to communicate with their child
Sometimes parents get confused about how to best relate to their child when they stutter. They don’t like seeing them frustrated and want to help. Many will go straight to the “stop and breathe” speech, which usually only makes their child more frustrated.
SLPs can help parents learn how to accept their child’s stuttering and effectively communicate with their child. We want to show them how to communicate in a way that is supportive and nonjudgmental. It’s important for parents to look at what a child says instead of focusing on how they say it.
3. Help parents provide a positive communication environment
Additionally, SLPs can educate parents on the importance of decreasing speaking demands. We want the child to have a supportive and relaxed environment for communicating. Family dynamics can be a risk factor for continued stuttering. This is why it’s crucial for parents self-reflect on what life is like at home. Hectic schedules, high expectations, being frequently interrupted, or a home with intense conflicts can play a role in continued stuttering.
4. Offer support and encouragement
It can be challenging for parents to watch their child struggle with stuttering. And it is important for them to have a safe space to voice their concerns. SLPs can be there to lend a listening ear, talk about progress and stuttering variability, and validate their concerns. We can assure them that it’s ok to be concerned, while at the same time teaching them to accept their child’s speech differences.
5. Refer parents to additional resources and support groups
Even if you don’t feel super confident in stuttering therapy, you can always point parents to people and places that can help them. There are many support groups for families of children who stutter (check out westutter.org), online resources, and books and articles about stuttering out there for parents. This is especially helpful if the advice or support we give is not well-received or doesn’t seem to be enough for them.
Free stuttering parent handout!
If you need something tangible to give to parents, grab a free stuttering parent handout by downloading the cheat sheet! It includes answers to common questions, risk factors, ways they can help, and facts about stuttering. Plus, it’s cute enough for them to hang on the fridge!
Hope some of these ideas come in handy! Follow me over on Instagram to keep the conversation going!