Young Children Who Stutter (formerly Preschool Children Who Stutter)
Information and Support for parents
All rights reserved. No copies may be made without the written permission of National Stuttering Association.
Young Children Who Stutter provides helpful advice for parents and family members who are concerned about their children's speech. Written by NSA Board Members and Stuttering Specialists J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, & Nina Reardon, MA, this comprehensive booklet describes the early signs of stuttering, provides an overview of what to expect in therapy, and explains how parents can help their child at home.
Although the booklet was originally written for parents, we have found that clinicians love the useable step by step outline for therapy. This booklet is often a "first step" to educating and empowering parents to help support their child who stutters. It provides the support parents need to be helpful partners in the therapy process and emphasizes the importance of early intervention.
If you suspect that your child is stuttering, you may be feeling worried, confused, or at a loss about what you can do to help. Family members, friends, professionals, and even the media may have given you conflicting advice about what you should do next.
The purpose of this booklet is to give you current information about stuttering and, in particular, young children who stutter. We will review basic facts about stuttering and discuss a variety of treatment options that are available for helping preschool and young school-age children who stutter. Our primary goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your child’s speech. This will involve providing you with the background knowledge you will need to make an informed decision about whether your child needs speech therapy, as well as helping you learn about ways you can help your child at home.
The booklet is organized into five sections, each of which represents a different aspect of a five-step plan you can follow to help your child:
Step One: Don’t Panic! When a young child starts to stutter, it can be a frightening experience for family members. Although these fears are understandable, they can sometimes make it harder for you to help your children most effectively. The goal of the first section of this booklet is to put your mind at ease by giving you an overview of the many types of assistance that are available for children who stutter.
Step Two: Get Informed. As you begin to address your child’s stuttering, you will be faced with many difficult decisions, such as whether you should pursue treatment, what type of treatment you should select, and how you can help your child at home. The purpose of the second chapter is to provide you with the specific background knowledge you will need to make decisions that will help your child.
Step Three: Get Help. There are many resources available for parents of children who stutter. Some of these resources take the form of booklets, such as the one you are reading now. Other resources take the form of people who can work with you to help your child, such as speech therapists and even other people who stutter. The third section discusses some of these resources and how you can get connected with them.
Step Four: Get Started. In this section, we provide specific suggestions about how you can start helping your child right away. Look here for information about how to respond to various situations that may arise in your child’s life. This section also contains general advice about how to respond when your child is stuttering and how to encourage family members and others to work together to help your child.
Step 5: Get Support. The final section provides you with stories written by other parents of children who stutter that can help you to know that you are not alone in your feelings regarding your child’s speech. There are also lists of suggested readings and resources that will help you find the support you need as the parent of a young child who is having difficulty with their speech fluency.