Sometimes the words in our head don’t come out quite the way we intend. Stuttering can happen when we’re talking too fast, thinking faster than we can speak, or because verbal communication skills are not fully developed. Like any skill, the art of speaking clearly is best achieved through practice, and more specifically, speech therapy at home or in office.
While traditional speech therapists set appointments for their clients, anyone looking to decrease stuttering should always practice speech therapy at home. The more speech techniques are practiced, the faster and better one will get at improving their speech pattern and decreasing their chances of stuttering. Not being able to communicate effectively can be frustrating, so if you or your child is suffering from stuttering, speech therapy might be right for you.
What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is an intervention form of service that provides tools to help improve speech and the ability to understand and express language verbally. Clinical speech therapy sessions are conducted by speech therapists or speech and language pathologists. Therapists possess a bachelor’s and a teaching degree or a graduate degree in speech therapy.
Speech therapy is composed of two key aspects: improving the movements and coordination of the mouth to form sounds or words properly, and understanding and communicating language. It is important to not only train the mouth to form words correctly but also for the speaker to understand exactly what they are saying. When we are in control of our language, we are less likely to falter, pause, or stutter.
Speech Therapy At Home
While speech therapy often happens in a clinical setting or within a child’s school, you can also take part in speech therapy at home. At home therapy can often be more comfortable for the learner since they are in a safe and familiar environment. Setting is important, because when someone is relaxed and at ease, they are more likely to feel comfortable speaking.
Engaging in speech therapy at home is becoming more popular to enhance traditional in-clinic or in-school therapy sessions. Practicing speech therapy techniques at home will bring about faster results, and will offer the learner more time to practice and refine their verbal dialogue. Best of all, speech therapy at home is free, making it a great option for anyone without insurance or who cannot afford expensive speech pathologist sessions.
Who Needs Speech Therapy?
Most people think speech therapy is a service only provided to children. However, many adults struggle with speech impediments, stuttering, and other speech ailments. Speech therapy is a service that anyone who struggles to form words or communicate properly can partake in.
While people of all ages can enjoy the benefits of speech therapy, it is important for children who struggle to speak properly be seen as soon as possible. Speech therapy sessions are much more successful when taught to developing children before their bodies can adapt to stuttering. Although stuttering can go away by itself by the time a child is 8 years old, speech therapy techniques can help children recover faster.
Many adults struggling to speak with ease often suffer from self-esteem or confidence issues. While speech therapy can help improve one’s speech, many adults must also address other emotional issues that lead them into a cycle of pausing, stuttering, or misspeaking.
At Home Techniques To Stop Stuttering
Although visiting a speech therapist can be invaluable to anyone who struggles with stuttering, speech therapy at home is also an excellent option. Practicing speech therapy at home will help continue a learner’s progress in between sessions and help flex the key mouth muscles needed to form words properly.
Speech Therapy At Home: Tips For Children
If you think speech therapy at home might be helpful for your child, there are several techniques you can easily try on your own to offer them a safe space to communicate and practice their speaking skills.
1. Speak Slowly
Many times, stuttering occurs because the speaker is trying to say too much, too quickly. Talking fast can make it easier for letters and sounds to jumble together. In fact, just listening to someone speaking quickly (even if they are well spoken) can be intimidating to someone with a stutter. This puts pressure on them to match your pace and can have them feeling overwhelmed before they ever start to speak. Instead, try slowing down your speech when engaging in conversation. Take longer pauses in between thoughts and make speaking sound relaxed and easy.
2. Do Not Interrupt
It might be hard to listen to your child struggle through saying the same word five times in a row, but interrupting will only make them feel like they have made a mistake. Even if they’re telling a story that is one long train of thought, do not cut them off or indicate in any way that you know longer want to listen. This can have discouraging side effects that linger with a child for years to come.
3. Practice Active Listening
A child who stutters wants to be heard just as much as one who doesn’t. Show your child you’re engaged in their dialogue by responding with appropriate facial expressions or body language. Laugh if they are making a joke, smile if they are telling you a story they’re proud of, or look horrified if they’re trying to tell you something shocking. Show them you value what they say and they’ll be much more open to con.
4. Limit Asking Questions
If you want your child to speak freely, then you’ll want to reduce or stop asking questions when trying to get them to have a conversation. Children speak more openly and casually when they can talk about whatever is on their minds rather than having to think of an answer to one of your questions. You can ask related open-ended questions, but try to allow your child the freedom to talk about whatever subject they find most interesting.
Speech Therapy At Home: Tips For Adults
If you’re an adult struggling to end your stuttering, there are a few tips for practicing at home for you as well.
1. Relax And Slow Down
Don’t put pressure on yourself to answer a question as quickly as it is being asked. Instead, take a moment to think about what you want to say and speak slowly. Don’t worry about whether you’re answering fast enough. Ensuring what you’re intending to say comes out is much more important than the speed of your delivery.
2. Practice With A Friend
The best way to improve anything holding you back is to practice. Practice speaking with a friend every day to help keep your momentum high. Even engaging in casual dialogue about your pet or favorite television show can make a tremendous difference in your speech progression. In fact, try to talk about subjects that are most engaging to you, so you’ll feel as relaxed and in charge as possible.
3. Focus On Your Breathing
Many times, struggling to get a sentence out can leave speakers feeling winded. Make speaking a little easier by focusing on the pauses between your words or sentences. Finding a good rhythm between breathing and speaking will become more natural, the more your practice. Many times, stuttering can be brought on by feelings of anxiety, which can sometimes be calmed through deep, meaningful breathing.
4. Avoid Trigger Words
Many times, there are certain words or sounds that can set a stutter off. Identify what words you really struggle to say without stuttering and find synonyms to replace them. Avoid saying your trigger words in public so you feel more confident in your speaking abilities. You should, however, practice your trigger words during sessions of speech therapy at home, so you continue to improve at speaking them.
We hope this article has helped you better understand your options for speech therapy at home. Stuttering can be an embarrassing social issue that many people struggle to overcome. Both children and adults can suffer from stuttering though children can outgrow and correct it much more easily than adults. Speech therapy at home can provide helpful techniques for dealing with a stutter.
Through in-home or in-clinic speech therapy sessions, learners will start to say words more confidently, learn how shape their mouths to properly to form different words and sounds, and gain a better understanding of what words mean. The more confident a speaker is, the less likely they are to study. Likewise, people who can correctly form and understand the words they are saying are less likely to fall into a stuttering pattern.
Ultimately, a stuttering problem can be overcome and helped with speech therapy at home. Practicing consistently, for a scheduled amount of time each day can help develop a positive routine that the learner will come to expect and depend on. Whether practicing trigger words or telling a story to family members, the more someone suffering from a stutter feels like they can safely communicate without embarrassment, the better their progress will be.