“The Transitional Years”

You have a teenager who stutters, so you know that there has been no magic “overnight: cure. New and important developments in education and therapy are happening all the time. In the meanwhile, there is so much that you, your child, and others in your child’s life can do. The NSA’s goal is to empower you and your child with knowledge, understanding and hope that will help to build your child’s chances of successful speech development. Here are 10 things you can do now to help your child:

1. Learn about stuttering

You can help yourself understand your child’s journey by gaining more knowledge about stuttering. Knowing the facts can help both you and your child better cope with the complexities of this often confusing communication disorder.

2. Talk openly with your child

To the extent that he or she is comfortable or willing, talk openly with your child about stuttering. Keeping the lines of communication open can serve to create an atmosphere of sharing between you and your child. Open communication allows your child to know that she can talk to you about how she feels about her stuttering, and this can help her know that she is not alone in dealing with this problem.

3. Empower your child

Through your acceptance and trust in your child, you can create opportunities for him to believe in himself. By empowering your child to become an independent problem-solver, he can grow more confident in his own skills for dealing with stuttering throughout his life.

4. Provide direction and support

Teens who stutter continue to need their parents; however, what they need changes as they transition into independent adults. Choices about managing stuttering are theirs, and parents become sounding boards for options to consider. Your support for your teen’s choices, whether or not they would be your choices, is a key to creating an atmosphere of trust and responsibility.

5. Choose appropriate therapy

One of the most important steps is to find appropriate therapy for your child. Seek a speech therapist who is knowledgeable about the treatment of childhood stuttering, and work closely with your therapist to ensure the best possible outcome for your child. A list of speech-language pathologists who are board-recognized specialists in stuttering, as well as a list of clinicians who are not formally recognized as specialists but who have obtained additional training about childhood stuttering, can be found through the “Specialist Referral” link on the right.

6. Accept your child’s stuttering

As parents, you know that your love and acceptance for your child is unconditional, whether or not he stutters. Through your acceptance of the way in which your child manages his speech during these transitional times, you can provide an atmosphere that helps him learn to cope with stuttering. Denial and avoidance give power to the stuttering. Acceptance and interaction are productive and positive.

7. Release ownership

Your teen is responsible for her own speech. As she becomes a young adult, she needs to feel this responsibility and know that she has your support and encouragement, regardless of the choices she makes for addressing her speaking difficulties.

8. Be prepared for unexpected changes

Change is never easy, but it does happen. As your child moves through adolescence, you will find that his motivation to change stuttering may become either heightened or decreased. Know that the ebb and flow of these changes are a normal part of dealing with stuttering in the teen years. Try to view these challenges as opportunities to encourage your child toward success. Embrace these times, as they create possibilities for you and your child to grow together.

9. Give yourself a break

As you, your child, and your family continue to cope with the complex nature of stuttering, understand that change takes time. Give yourself and your teen permission to take small and varied steps along the way.

10. Get connected

The National Stuttering Association (NSA) is dedicated to providing hope, empowerment, and support for you and your child. Speech therapy is not the answer for everyone. Through our connection network, you can become a part of a community of families and teens just like yourselves throughout the United States. The greatest gift that you can give yourself and you child is the knowledge that you are not alone and that the future is bright!

Click here to see the full PDF brochure.
This brochure is also available in the NSA Store.

Available Summer 2003! Helping Children Who Stutter Manage The Effects Of Bullying And Teasing. A guide for Speech-language pathologists, parents, educators and children who stutter.