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4 Ways to Help Your Child's Stuttering

If your child has trouble getting his words out, now is the time to get help. By 5 or 6, kids are more socially aware and will say "I don't know" every time a teacher calls on them to avoid being embarrassed, notes Joseph Donaher, Ph.D., a Philadelphia speech therapist. What you can do:

Find a speech therapist Have your child evaluated and discuss treatment options. Ask your pediatrician for a referral or search for one at stutteringhelp.org, the website of the Stuttering Foundation of America.

Be frank Stuttering is a neurologically based disorder that can run in families, so treat it as a medical condition; avoid minimizing the problem or telling your child he'll outgrow it, but do let him know there's help.

Focus on what your child is saying Try not to interrupt your child or finish his sentences. Maintain eye contact with him while he's speaking and encourage him to expand on his thoughts if he feels like it.

Talk to his teacher Download handouts at stutteringhelp.org to give her so she knows what helps and what doesn't. If his teacher knows how to deal, he'll feel more comfortable participating.

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