Understand what factors will affect your child's fluency?

Children do vary and their stammer will be differently affected by the situation. However these are some of the common factors that may contribute to your child's stammering. When you know what these can be you can respond to how he is at the time and take the pressure off him for example by changing his timetable, and/or reducing the demands on him to talk.

His feelings

  • If he is tired, unwell, worried, frightened or even excited for a happy reason such as a birthday.

The situation

The classroom or other group situations

  • A situation where the adults and other children are talking quickly and turn to him for a reply.
  • An atmosphere that seems noisy and rushed and many people are talking at once and he is expected to join in.
  • He has been put on the spot to answer a question or tell a story about an event and is very aware that other children and adults are listening.
  • He is talking to an adult who is distracted and is looking away, for example when the teacher is obviously planning another task.
  • He is trying to explain something very complicated and is struggling with new or unfamiliar words.
  • He is trying to describe an event that has upset him, or he needs to explain that he wants to do something urgently, such as go to the toilet.
  • When he is expected to talk when asked and everybody will be listening to him. This can be a particular problem if he is expected to give his name, such as at registration.

Other activities

  • A place that he does not know very well, if at all, and is expected to talk to strangers, such as in a shop or at the doctor's surgery. In these circumstances he is particularly likely to stammer when he tries to give information such as saying his name.
  • Social and family activities when everyone is trying to talk at once.
  • When taking part in Sports he is asked his opinions about his performance in the changing rooms as the coach goes round talking to all the team. It is particularly difficult when the team are lined up together as commonly happens and quick replies are called for.

Once you understand what situations may be affecting your child's speech you can try to reduce the pressures on him at home in speaking situations, and have some information to pass on to his teacher and his therapist.

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