Yes! For our preschoolers, therapy is a parent-focused treatment. Family involvement is critical. As a parent, you are the most important communication partner in your child's life. We see better progress when caregivers are participating and active in carrying over strategies and skills learned during therapy.
Our goal for preschool stuttering therapy is to empower parents as well as help your child directly. If your child is struggling to speak, or if others are commenting on your child's speech, we want you to have the knowledge and skills to effectively respond in those moments, instead of feeling lost or helpless.
Some examples of parent-focused learning include:
All of this requires parent involvement and active, committed learning.
We understand that parents have very busy schedules, and will work with you to develop a therapy program and schedule that meets parent learning needs while accommodating life schedules. We recognize that children have multiple important caregivers (grandparents, nannies, teachers) and it may be appropriate to have others of these caregivers attend sessions in the parent role.
Research has shown that the most effective therapy is individualized to the child’s needs. While certain "cookbook" approaches are considered widely effective, there is no guarantee that it will be effective for a specific individual.
We do not advocate programmatic approaches because we do not feel this takes into account the needs of individual families and chidlren. However, we do incorporate aspects of the Lidcombe program (and other standardized programs) into our treatment approach if we believe it will support the progress of the child. Key elements of Lidcombe that we almost always incorporate include parent training, "special talking time" at home, and education about speech and stuttering behaviors and environmental factors.
We offer our parent coaching approach as a middle ground between the commonly advised “wait and see” approach, and the opposite extreme of full-blown speech therapy. By providing you with the tools and strategies to try at home, we offer you the opportunity to support your child without having to dive into therapy just yet.
Because it is so common for preschool children to spontaneously recover from stuttering, many parents are on the fence about whether speech therapy is actually necessary. Pediatricians may advise waiting for a very long time, even if a child is struggling or appears to be getting worse. We recognize that many parents are anxious about their child's stuttering and want to help in some way, but traditional speech therapy may feel premature or overly involved.
Our tiered model allows us to provide support, guidance, and coaching to parents who want to support their child today and be equipped to handle whatever comes tomorrow.
This is a very common concern for many parents. Yes, our stuttering experts stutter (mostly).
The short answer: no, this will not negatively impact your child's speech. Stuttering is not contagious.
Some parents worry that being around a stuttering-positive adult will "encourage" the child to keep stuttering, because the child will want to maintain an association with stuttering. Having a neutral (or positive) attitude about stuttering does not perpetuate stuttering. If anything, a positive attitude and confidence towards stuttering tends to increase fluency and reduce struggle. This is one of the many paradoxes of stuttering, and is why we place such an emphasis on attitudes.
We understand that it might feel weird to have a stuttering speech therapist. We will not be offended if you ask us about directly-- in fact, we encourage it! Please ask away.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of pediatricians have very little knowledge about stuttering. (In fact, this is true for speech-language pathologists as well. Stuttering is consistently ranked as the speech disorder in which SLPs, as a profession, feel the least competent.) We often hear pediatrician "advice" that is simply recycled common myth. This is not a reflection of your pediatrician. Many wonderful doctors simply don't have extensive training in this very specific, niche topic.
One of the most pernicious myths about stuttering is that calling attention to it will cause it to get worse. This was the popular theory circa 1930, but its spectre remains today, to the point that parents are afraid to put their child in therapy.
Research has proven unequivocally that talking openly about stuttering does NOT cause, perpetuate, or worsen stuttering. This extends to attending therapy. Bringing a child to speech therapy does not condemn them to becoming a lifelong stutterer.
That being said, not all preschoolers who stutter need speech therapy. In fact, the majority do not need therapy! Determining which children truly need therapy is a very complicated question, that goes far beyond their age or how long they've been stuttering for.
This is why we offer free consultations and our tiered intervention model. We want to deeply understand you child and your family's unique situation, and provide the right amount of assistance, no more or less than is necessary.
Insurance coverage for stuttering varies wildly by plan. Please see our Costs page for more information about insurance coverage and payment options.
At speech IRL, we aren't afraid to go outside the box or try something new, if it means achieving what matters the most to you. We define success based on your definition of success.