Parents frequently ask for suggestions on how to help their child tell about their day or a recent event. So often, we hear children say, “I don’t know” or “nothing” when asked, “What did you do today?” or “Tell me about your trip to the zoo.” Telling about your day sounds simple, but it requires remembering the events, sequencing those events, and applying the right language. There are simple things you can do to help your child with these complex tasks!
· Use visual schedule boards
Collect simple pictures to represent activities (e.g., art, music, soccer, cheerleading). Begin with only a few activities, using the pictures to help your child remember what he or she did. If needed, ask direct questions such as, “Did you have art?” or give a choice, “Did you have art or music today?”
· Familiar Activities
Have your child help you with activities around the home, by having him or give provide you with the steps. For example, have your child help you set the table. Ask him/her, “What should we do first?” and have him tell you, for example, “Give everyone a fork.” Do this for each of the steps. Because you are actively completing the activity, it will be evident if something is missing. (Other activities: getting dressed, taking a bath, doing laundry).
· Special Activities
If you go on a special outing, such as the zoo or pumpkin patch, take pictures. Use these to create a book that tells about the day. Have your child tell about the event using the pictures as a guide.
In the past several years, speech pathologists have decided to leave the "wait and see" era of fluency treatment behind us. With this change in perspective we have begun to usher in a more proactive approach, complete with suggestions on how to alter the child's environment to enhance fluency, encouragement to track changes, and most importantly the acknowledgment and acceptance of stuttering. Unlike past generations, you'll be hard pressed to find a fluency specialist who tells parents to "ignore" the child's stuttering as we no longer prescribe to the idea that speaking about stuttering around a child will cause them to stutter.
Thank goodness parents no longer are being told to sit by and watch their child struggle for 6-12 months without providing them ways to help! The Stuttering Foundation of America recently produced a video that discusses the things parents can do to assist their child who stutters and this video is posted above. As you watch, do not beat yourself up if you have been handling things differently than the therapists suggest. There are a number of different variables that are thought to interact in order to cause the onset of stuttering. By not initially following these suggestions you did not cause your child to stutter, however these environmental changes will help reduce time pressure and language demands so that your child can speak more freely!
For more information Fluency, please visit our sister site: www.thestutteringsource.com