Early stuttering can present in our early childhood population for a number of reasons, parents often come to us and tell us the child’s condition is much worse when they are tired or anxious and this is not uncommon, however stuttering has a link to many other causes including a genetic link. One thing I find myself explaining time and time again is the different types of feedback used during stuttering intervention. This format is based off the Lidcombe Program which has been proven to be an effective intervention method for preschool and early primary school aged children with a stuttering condition.
The first type of feedback we often commence with is praised based feedback on stutter free speech where we are rewarding kids for stutter free speech only in about a 10-minute block of practice each day. This may include phrases such as;
- “Nice, that was smooth!”
- “Good smooth talking.”
- “Wow, that was so smooth.”
- “Good talking.”
- “No bumps, awesome!”
Essentially, we want this feedback to be positive and enjoyed by the child. Thus, is going to be most effective when working with your speech therapist to work out phrases that feel natural to you as a parent, remain genuine and your child responds to in a positive manner.
The second concept that gets introduced is requests for self-evaluation of stutter free speech. The idea here is that the child’s awareness continues to grow around stutter free speech and begin to feel they can do this! You might ask things like “was that smooth?” or “were the any bumps there?”. The answer should always be yes at this stage as we are only using this on stutter free speech whether it be a small utterance or a string of sentences together ONLY if you are certain, the child remained stutter free.
The last concept that gets introduced for stutter free speech is acknowledgement, this is different to praise and requests for self-evaluation as it is often shorter and has less of a disruption on the overall flow of conversation. It is usually short statements with less emotion involved such as “smooth”, “no bumpy words” or “that was gentle” depending on what language works for the child and family.