Children who stutter

Speech-Language Pathologist Barbara Schacter, LCSW, shares advice for parents on the best method for helping your young child with stuttering
How To Help a Child Who Stutters
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Children who stutter

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If your child starts to stutter, there are more don´ts to answer this question than there are dos. Don´t look away. Don´t finish your child´s sentence. Don´t tell them to stop and start again. Let them finish their utterance. Struggle as they might, let them finish. At a later time and at a calm time, you might want to sit down and run through the sequence again with them if they are agreeable to that. But don´t do any of the above things because it has a tendency to increase the stuttering. Now, generally speaking, toddlers will wax and wane with their disfluency, which is actually a more appropriate term than stuttering. It comes and it goes, and this is because their brain. They have been on the planet a short time and their brain is moving a million miles an hour and their mouth just can´t keep up with it. So they start to trip over their tongue as it were. And that being said, the look of horror on the parent´s face as they see their child struggle to get words out is hugely reinforcing. So you want to stay very calm if your child is being disfluent. Now, that being said, you don´t want to disregard a true stutterer. And a true stutterer, they can happen as early as 2 1/2 to 3, is a child who is repeating syllables, sounds, words over and over again, prolonging those sounds or words. It´s usually paired with facial or bodily struggles and sometimes vocal outbursts. In that case, definitely get some help.

Speech-Language Pathologist Barbara Schacter, LCSW, shares advice for parents on the best method for helping your young child with stuttering

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Barbara Schacter, LCSW

Speech-Language Pathologist

Barbara was raised in New England, then attended The George Washington University for both undergraduate and graduate school.  She began as a dance major, but soon realized that she might have had a colorful, but short career and she was looking for a profession that would inspire and challenge her for many years.  As luck would have it, G.W.U. had an excellent speech pathology and audiology department. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, the university offered her a fellowship for graduate school with an internship associated with not only their speech and hearing clinic, but with the George Washington University Hospital, as well. 

After graduate school, she secured a position in a private school for children with language and learning disabilities.  She followed that with a 10-year stint at a residential children's psychiatric center.  Longing to work with a more varied population, she then worked in a public school in New Jersey.  There, she developed and taught a language enrichment program for all kindergartners in the district and provided speech and language therapy for the two special education classes, as well as serving those students from kindergarten to sixth grade having articulation, fluency, voice, cleft palate, hearing impairment and language delays.  In 1992, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired by Saint John's Health Center to participate as a member on their cleft palate team as well as providing pediatric and geriatric out-patient speech and language services.  Several years later, she opened a private practice in Pacific Palisades, CA, which continues to this day.  She is delighted to say that she still gets a thrill out of the work she does...and that is such a gift!

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