Speech therapy for school age children

If a child is still stuttering by age 7-8, it will be a more persistent condition, perhaps into adulthood. A child can benefit greatly from speech therapy which may, at this stage, feature cognitive approaches and coping techniques, and encourage self-acceptance. In other words, fluency may not be the only goal of the therapy. Parents can initiate conversation and self-expression in the family setting, which will help a child deal with his stuttering and life in general. Finding ways for the child to be engaged in life, whether through sports, artistic endeavours or whatever interests him, can also help greatly.

The Stuttering Foundation has materials for parents of preschool children who stutter and for school-age children.

Getting treatment

There are many speech and language pathologists and specialist therapy for children and teens who stutter in Canada. Speech pathology is a broad field, ensure that your child’s therapist has had experience in treating stuttering in particular, and has worked with children. After an assessment, the therapist will discuss a treatment plan with you and realistic goal-setting.

The involvement and support of the whole family will provide valuable support and help to make the activities done in the therapy sessions feel like a part of life, not something done only once a week. Children of all ages can learn to reduce their stuttering and develop their ability to communicate well. Specialist help is available in three settings.

  1. One-to-one sessions with a speech and language pathologist (SLP). Sessions are usually once per week or two, for several months. Therapy will be adapted to the age of your child and will help them to learn simple fluency techniques and manage their feelings and reactions when they stutter.

    See our page on clinics for information on how to find a specialist speech and language therapist in Canada.

  2. Your school board. Specialist therapy might be available through the public school system in your area (coordinated through a school board). Each province and region is different, and availability varies. For primary and middle schools, speak with your child’s teacher to find out what help is available. In secondary school s, the guidance teacher or equivalent is the best person to contact for additional support.
  3. Intensive courses for one-two weeks during school holidays. These involve several hours a day working with a small team of therapists and other children who stutter. There are courses in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
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