Stuttering Therapy

Child presenting

Stuttering is a speech disorder in which sound, syllables or words are repeated or prolonged, disrupting the natural flow of speech.  These interruptions may be accompanied by pauses, signs of struggle and tension such as eye blinking or facial twitching.

Stuttering is often misunderstood.  It is not a psychological problem or due to anxiety, stress or poor parenting.

Stuttering can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe.  Stuttering is NEVER a normal part of a child's speech development. 

Stuttering can interfere with people's social interactions and can lead to the development of social anxiety which can seriously affect day-to-day life. Please contact us if your child has been stuttering for more than 6 months or if you are concerned that a stutter is forming.

Many adults struggle with stuttering for years before deciding that it is time to seek some assistance. There are a variety of treatments available.  The nature of the treatment will differ, based upon a person's age, communication goals and other factors.

Two stuttering treatment methods used at Eastside

Two evidence based treatments are available and used at Eastside Speech:

  • The Lidcombe program
  • The Camperdown program

At Eastside we use the Lidcombe Program to treat children's stuttering.  All of our therapists are trained and experienced in this program.

We use the Camperdown Program in our treatment of adult stuttering.

Both the Lidcome and Camperdown programs were developed and are constantly being improved and refined by researchers at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre at the University of Sydney. 

Children reading together 

Frequently Asked Questions about Stuttering

To learn more about what stuttering is and other speech therapy questions:

  • When should I consult a speech pathologist about my child?

    Answer

    In summary, call Eastside Speech Solutions and ask for your child to be
    assessed if:

    • You are worried about your child's language comprehension, expression and/or understanding
    • You think your child's understanding is different from other children
      of the same age (click here to read more about developmental milestones)
    • Your child stutters (no matter what their age)
    • Your child's voice sounds different from other children's e.g it sounds hoarse
    • Your child's teacher expresses concern.
  • What are the developmental milestones for a toddler?

    Answer

    By the age of one, your baby should be able to:

    • Say dad, mumma and a few other words
    • Try to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises
    • Respond to familiar sounds such as the telephone ringing, vacuum cleaner or a car in the driveway
    • Understand simple commands such as "no!"
    • Recognise their own name
    • Understand the names of familiar objects and people
    • Enjoy songs, music and books.

    By the age of two most children start to talk to themselves and you can seen their language and communication skills starting to develop:

    • Listen to stories and say the names of the pictures
    • Understand simple sentences, such as "where's your shoe?"
    • Say the names of simple body parts such as nose or tummy
    • Use more than 50 words such as "no", "gone", "mine" and "teddy"
    • Talk to themselves or their toys in play
    • Sing simple songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little star" or "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"
    • Try simple sentences such as "Milk all gone"
    • Use some simple pronouns such as "he", "if"
    • Should be able to say m, n and h correctly.

    By the age of three, your child's communication should be understood by family, close friends and regular carers and they should be able to:

    • Understand how objects are used e.g. a crayon is something you draw with
    • Recognise their own needs such as hunger
    • Follow directions
    • Understand basic concepts (in/under, hot/cold)
    • Use 3-4 word sentences
    • Understand basic grammar
    • Enjoy telling stories and asking questions
    • Should be able to say p, b, m, n, ng, w, y, t, d, k, g and f

    By the age of four, your child should be able to be understood most of the time by most people.  If you find friends and acquaintances can not understand your child's express then perhaps a visit to a therapist may be warranted.  Your child should be able to:

    • Understand shape and colour names
    • Understand "wh" questions such as "where are they going?" or "why did he fall?"
    • Understand "time" words such as lunchtime, today, winter
    • Use lots of words (900+) and understand complex sentences
    • Use 4-5 word sentences
    • Use correct grammar most of the time
    • Use language when playing with other children
    • Should be able to say s, z, sh, ch and j

    This is by no means an exhaustive list.  If you are concerned about any aspect of your baby or toddler's speech or language please give us a call.

    Click here for milestones for school age children.

  • Is stuttering ever normal?

    Answer

    Stuttering is never a normal part of a child's (or adult's) speech and is not caused by anxiety, stress or poor parenting. Whilst many children do stop stuttering, about 20% continue to stutter into adulthood if left untreated. In general, if your child is 4 years old or if they have been stuttering for about 6 months, now is the time to seek help.

  • What is tongue thrust?

    Answer

    A tongue thrust is a condition where the tongue rests incorrectly (e.g. between the teeth) or moves forward during a swallow.  The result is that the tongue pushes against or protrudes between the upper and lower teeth.

    Some common indicators of a tongue thrust include:

    • an open bite
    • poor teeth alignment
    • poor muscle tone in the lips and cheeks
    • an open mouth resting posture during the day and/or at night
    • a tongue that you can see resting between the teet
    • difficulties saying "s, z, t or d" sounds
    • excessive lip licking or drooling
    • snoring.

     

  • What is PROMPT Therapy?

    Answer

    PROMPT is an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets.  It is a therapy developed in the 1980's by Deborah Hayden, founder of the PROMPT® Institute.  It is a holistic approach that assesses not just a client's speech movement patterns but how their speech production interacts with their language and cognitive abilities as well as their social and emotional skills.  Therapy goals are set taking into account the whole person and their needs.

  • How can I learn more about how PROMPT can help my child?

    Answer

    The PROMPT institute has a very helpful website http://www.promptinstitute.com with information about PROMPT. At Eastside Speech we regularly run parent-training workshops for parents of children in our clinic. These workshops provide a comprehensive overview of the PROMPT apporach and help parents and caregivers to be involved in therapy planning and goal setting. They are generally run over 3 evenings.

Useful information and resources

Here are a list of sites and resources we have found useful for our patients: