Saturday, April 21, 2012

Stuttering and my family

One fall weekend in 2009 my oldest son woke up and had trouble talking. He was so upset he couldn't talk right he started biting his arm, turning red and crying. My initial reaction was okay maybe he was having a hard time waking up. Well it didn't stop. The rest of the day he struggled with his speech.

My husband and I were worried sick about him. Had something happened to cause this? Was he going to be like this for the rest of his life? Would other kids be accepting of him when he got to school like this?

After a crazy couple of weeks, we ended up finding out he had a mild form of apraxia and a stutter.

I immediately got online and started researching apraxia and stuttering. I came across the Stuttering Foundation of America website they had a ton of wonderful articles on research on stuttering and stories of other families dealing with the same situation.

Last year I had a wonderful opportunity to exchange emails with Jane Fraser, President of The Stuttering Foundation of America. According to Fraser most children are first diagnosed with a stutter, "between the ages of 2 and 4." When should a parent consider seeking out speech therapy? She suggests seeking out diagnosis/therapy, "as early as possible even if it is only to get guidance on how to follow through on the 7 tips for talking with your child."

Below are the 7 tips for talking with your child courtesy of The Stuttering Foundation of America website,

"1. Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes speaking before you begin to speak. Your own slow, relaxed speech will be far more effective than any criticism or advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.”

2. Reduce the number of questions you ask your child. Instead of asking questions, simply comment on what your child has said.

3. Use your facial expressions and other body language to convey to your child that you are listening to the content of her message and not to how she’s talking.

4. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. This quiet, calm time can be a confidence-builder for younger children.

5. Help all members of the family learn to take turns talking and listening. Children, especially those who stutter, find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions.

6. Observe the way you interact with your child. Try to increase those times that give your child the message that you are listening to her and she has plenty of time to talk.

7. Above all, convey that you accept your child as he is. The most powerful force will be your support of him, whether he stutters or not."

The Stuttering Foundation of America also funds research to discover what causes stuttering. Last year "Dr. Dennis Drayna and his team at the NIH found the first 3 genes [that show there is a link between genetics and stuttering]," she said.

In 2011 the release of "The King's Speech," helped bring greater awareness to stuttering and the stuttering community. If you haven't seen the movie you need to go out and rent it! It is awesome! Fraser said, "We are thrilled that this film highlights the plight of those that stutter."

Fraser got to meet the cast. She explained that the actors were familiar with stuttering/speech issues. "They researched for their roles in the film by reading everything they could about King George VI and listening to his speeches over and over and over until they "got" it.

For more information on stuttering click here.

I am now an Independent Stylist with Stella and Dot. Check out my website here: . Stella and Dot sells unique, affordable jewelry perfect for every woman. Half of their line is under $50.  In the month of May I will donate 10% from every sale to help the Stuttering Foundation further their mission.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your son's apraxia and stutter. I have always had a stutter. I went through speech therapy as a child and it helped a lot, even though I hated going. Even to this day, I hate talking about it, or admitting to people that I have a stutter. I still get caught up on certain words, or when I'm really excited (or nervous), my stutter comes out.

    I haven't seen "The King's Speech". I've heard it's amazing though. I really should go out and rent it.

    Checking out your Stella & Dot shop now! :)

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Yes you should check out the King's Speech very inspiring.