How to Stop Stuttering: 3 Tips to Reduce and Manage Stuttering
Stuttering is a speech disorder that disrupts the normal flow of speech. A child or an adult who stutters repeats or prolongs sounds, syllables, or words. Many people want to know how to stop stuttering. Treatment with speech therapy depends on symptoms, age, and other factors like motivation to work strategies that help. It also depends on how severe the stuttering is.
There is no cure for stuttering but reduction of stuttering and management is absolutely possible. Early treatments can help prevent stuttering continuing when a child presents with this speech issue. For adults who want to know how to stop stuttering, there are some strategies that they can use at home to help manage the disruptions. It is important to speak to your speech therapist in advance of using these tips to make sure they are not in conflict with any specific strategies that already help.
How to Stop Stuttering Tips from the speech therapists at Therapy Works Together:
1. Focus on Good Breathing
It’s very important to pay attention to how you breathe. Breathing calmly and while focusing on relaxation can decrease tension and anxiety in the body and mind which can impact how often some people stutter.
Speech can also be improved by focusing on the breath. Shallow breathing does not support the vocal cords well for producing speech. This can result in tension in the vocal cords and may impact how often a person who stutters blocks or repeats sounds when trying to talk.
Deep breathing techniques can include:
- Taking a few minutes each day to close your eyes and focus on deep relaxed breathing
- Inhaling for 4 seconds, holding the breath 7 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds. Make sure to breathe while letting your stomach expand naturally.
2. Remember to Pause When Speaking
You’ll often hear that you should slow down your speech. While this is a treatment strategy that speech therapists use often, it should be practiced first with your speech therapist. Advice to slow down is well meaning, but can also simply increase stress and tension in the person who stutters.
Instead, one very useful strategy is to pause or chunk phrases while speaking. This should happen in places where it is natural to pause or chunk what you are saying. The pause can also be used to replenish breath supply for good support of the vocal cords and decreasing tensions as stated above. Pausing also gives speakers a moment to regroup, decrease any tension that may be felt and then move on.
3. Find a Partner to Practice With
Whether you are in speech therapy or working on how to stop stuttering on your own, having a trusted partner can help you identify speech patterns that you may not be aware of. A trusted partner can help you:
- Identify if you are getting tense when talking
- Using sentences that are too long without pausing or taking a breath
- By telling you if you are using strategies learned in speech therapy
- By listening you describe your emotions around stuttering. Sharing these emotions helps release a lot of the burden
Support people can provide time and opportunity to practice and also emotional support to help a person who stutters improve their speech and get out into the world as opposed to hiding from it.
How to Stop Stuttering – Long Term Treatments
A speech therapist can help people who stutter learn to integrate strategies that can decrease stuttering moments. Treatment is most effective when people address their stuttering early on. If a child stutters, parents and caregivers should consider taking them to a speech therapist:
- If they have stuttered for approximately 6 months (while there is no specific time that is a firm guideline, the time since onset of stuttering coupled with the other items below will determine when to seek help)
- If they are struggling with stuttering, and perhaps ticks are becoming noticeable
- If there are other family members who have stuttered
Treatment at any age aims to increase speech fluency, boost a person’s confidence, and enables them engage in school, work, and social situations. Speech therapy can help improve a person’s fluency by focusing on their overall speech, learning strategies for the stuttering moment and addressing feelings about stuttering. Here are some common speech goals that a child or adult who stutters might work on:
- Slow down speech rate
- Paying closer attention to the moment a stutter happens and what it feels like
- Identifying and managing situations that make stuttering worse
- Decreasing body tension associated with stuttering
- Talking about thoughts associated with stuttering
Support Helps Children and Adults Who Stutter
Parents and caregivers can help a child who stutters by;
- Listening with minimal interruptions (don’t finish their words, sentences)
- Not correcting or criticizing
- Avoiding telling the child to “slow down” or “take your time,” (increases the child’s feeling self-conscious)
- Modelling speaking speaking slowly so the child will understand they too have time to talk
- Giving a child some time alone with a parent in which they are allowed to tell about their day without competition from other children or family members
- Speaking to a teacher to see if bullying is happening at school
Adults can also benefit from the above suggestions but with a trusted friend or family member. When an adult feels like they can speak openly about their stuttering, it usually decreases tension and allows for trying strategies learned in speech therapy without fear of rejection.
Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults
We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.