4 Tips for Controlling a Stutter

Just about everyone has experienced a moment in their lives they stammered nervously or struggled to get their thoughts out, but for over three million Americans, stuttering (or stammering) is a communication disorder that can cause frustration, fear, embarrassment and anxiety.

If you stutter, you may find yourself remaining silent in conversations, withdrawing from social situations, or even isolating yourself completely to avoid having to speak. While there is no definitive cure for stuttering, there are things you can do to help you learn to communicate more effectively. Following are four tips to help you control a stutter.

1. Take a Breath
One way to control stammering is to take a deep breath and speak slowly. If you know you’re about to stutter on a word, exhale first. Exhaling on the word you’re about to stutter on will help you slow down before you speak, which leads us to the next tip.

2. Enunciate
As you use deep breaths to slow yourself down, you can also use deep breaths to help you enunciate. Taking the time to enunciate words will help your brain control the movement of your mouth, rather than the muscle memory of your mouth controlling you. For example, if you have trouble stuttering on the word “bread” you can enunciate “buh-read”; if you have trouble with the word “kitchen” enunciate “kih-tchen”, and so on.

3. Read Out Loud
Make it a daily habit to read aloud. You can read to a close friend or family member, or read to yourself. Pick up a book or magazine, or read an article online out loud to yourself.

4. Practice
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. If you go a day or more without speaking out loud, you will likely have difficulty the next time you try to talk to someone. If you make an effort to practice daily, you will find yourself more at ease when you speak. You can practice speaking in front of a mirror, or practice by taking every opportunity you can to speak. For example, instead of ordering food online or using the chat option to talk to customer service, make the phone call. Do the things you’re uncomfortable with to push yourself.

If you’re having difficulty controlling a stutter, speech therapy can help. A speech-language therapist can work with you on ways to manage your stuttering, and help you better handle speaking situations. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call my office today at (123) 456-7890.

3 Everyday Pronoun Exercises to Do with Your Toddler

Long before your baby has said her first word, she’s learned to communicate. Her responses to you – such as a cry or a smile – help you understand her needs. As your baby grows into a toddler, her communication will begin to develop. She will go from babbling, pointing and simple words (such as “mama” and “dada”) around 11 months, to understanding simple commands and saying two and three word phrases (such as “all gone” and “I see truck”) around age 2.

But not all children develop language at the same pace. Pronouns can be one of the most challenging things for any child to learn. Additionally, for children on the autism spectrum or who have a language or developmental delay, it’s very common to have difficulty with pronoun usage.

Teaching Pronouns

When teaching your toddler about pronouns, it’s important to always pair pronouns with gestures as a visual cue. For example, when you refer to yourself, pat your chest; when referring to your child, tap their chest. If you’re having the child refer to themselves with “I”, “me,” or “my”, take their hand and place it on their chest.

To help your toddler improve their use of pronouns, here are three simple exercises you can practice with them daily.

1. Photos, Books & Toys
Use your child’s books and toys to learn “he” and “she.” Identify toys with boy and girl faces, or gesture to pictures in books, and talk about “he” or “she”. You can also look at family photos with your child and point to people in the pictures. “Who is that? Yes, he is daddy. Daddy is a boy. Boys are ‘he’.”

2. The “Who wants?” Game
Take something your child loves, such as a doll, toy, crayons, or some kind of treat, then ask them, “Who wants this?” For example: “Who wants a piece of candy?” To teach them, you answer “I do!” You can also model “Me!” to mix it up, once they successfully repeat the first phrase. You can also use “this is for you” and “this is for me” as you hand the treat to the child or yourself to teach additional pronouns.

3. The “I Spy” Game
When you take your child shopping or to the park, point to something people are holding or wearing to show examples of he, she, her, and his. For example, if you see a girl wearing a pink dress you can say “I spy with my little eye, something pink.” When your child identifies the girl correctly, say, “That’s right, that girl is wearing pink. She is wearing a pink dress,” or “Yes, her dress is pink.”

 

Are you a parent concerned about your child’s speech and language development? A licensed speech-language pathologist can help. Please give me a call at your earliest convenience, so we can chat and book an appointment.