12 Truly Helpful Tips On How To Overcome Stuttering For Both Children And Adults

An ex-mute’s guide to finding your voice.
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tips to overcome shuttering

Hi, my name is Kathlyn and I have a recovering speech impediment. From the ages 7-12, my speech impediment was so bad that I became virtually a mute. Through my experience with my speech impediment, I have comprised this list of 12 truly helpful ways and tips that have helped me overcome my stuttering as a child, and helps me manage my speech impediment as an adult.

Here are the 12 tips to overcome shuttering for both kids and adults:

1. Don’t let your toddler and children have things in their mouths while trying to talk

According to my mother, my speech impediment began when I was a toddler trying to talk. I still would have a pacifier in my mouth while I was trying to talk. Over time, I developed a stutter because of it. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking away the pacifier while your toddler is trying to talk.

Also remind your young children to not talk with anything in their mouths. We were all told to not talk with our mouths full as children, because it was gross. Now we have a new reason to remind our children of this lifelong warning.

2. Practice and have patience

I understand how frustrating it is to try and speak but the words don’t just won’t come out. If you or your child has or is developing a stutter; first of all, be patient with yourself and them, and secondly, practice with them and yourself. For a young child, a stutter can be extremely disheartening to them as they develop their language skills, which may make them regress in their speech.

So continually practicing with them is crucial for them to develop strong speech skills. This also applies to adults. Until I got to the age of seven, I became so defeated by my stuttering that I decided that I just wasn’t going to talk anymore. I would get so frustrated at myself that I couldn’t get out what I wanted to say, so I just gave up on talking all together, for a time. Don’t let your child or yourself go through what I did. Don’t give up and keep trying! 

3. Have a supportive group

 I went to speech therapy for as long as I could remember to the time I entered 6th grade. I had points where I have had some good and bad spells, even to this day; which means that I go through periods where there my speech impediment is non-evident, and then are are times where I can’t put five words together without stumbling. Even after regained my voice, I still stumbled from time to time. 

The main difference however was me coming to realize that I didn’t have to be afraid of it anymore. My speech therapist explained it so eloquently. She explained, for example,  that I wouldn’t stop riding my bike for fear of falling off. And in the event that I do stumble, I have just have to get up and try again. Maybe try talking a little bit slower, like a turtle, and not try to talk so fast to hurry up and get all the words out. 

I stopped going to speech therapy at age 12; and now at the age of 28, to this day I always think of turtles as something that helped me overcome my greatest obstacle. I wish I could say I have finally 100% overcome my speech impediment, but I haven’t. I still go through spells where my speech impediment flairs up. But in those times, I remember my old speech therapist and talk like a turtle.

4. Take things slow

 When my speech therapist told me to “talk like a turtle”, this is exactly what she meant. Slow down your speech. This might be easy to remember for adults with ongoing speech impediments. But for a child, remind them to talk like a turtle walks, nice and slow. It might help them remember if you gave them something with a turtle on it, like a bracelet that they could easily see, so it will help them remember that. I know this certainly helped m growing up.

5. Just relax to stop stuttering

Stress flusters stuttering. If the words don’t want to come out, just take a breath and relax and talk like a turtle. I have noticed throughout my experiences, speaking because a whole lot more easier when you are relaxed and comfortable.

6. Be mindful of your breathing

As someone who has both asthma AND a recovering speech impediment, this is, at times, not easy to always remember; but it is still important nonetheless. Breathe while talking. I have noticed that whenever I would feel a stutter coming on, that my chest would get all flustered and it feels like I’m holding in my breath and I just want to let it out all at once.

If you ever feel like this, revert back to Step 5 and relax. Whenever I feel like a stutter is coming, I relax and take a few breathers, and because this relaxes my tension the stutter doesn’t happen. Try it out.

7. Recognize trigger words

Vowels are my triggers, especially words that begin with soft vowels and ends in “ow”. Recognizing trigger words or phrases can drastically help how you increase your awareness to when you feel like you may stutter and how to best avoid those moments. 

8. Articulate your words and movements

As I mentioned previously, if you recognize your trigger words, you can prepare and practice on how to say them so they won’t cause you to stutter. Focusing on how you move your mouth can also help you overcome your stutter because recognizing how your move your mouth gives you control over how you say your words.

9. Find a creative outlet to overcome the challenge

Visualizing the stutter as an obstacle to overcome gives you an object to focus on challenging can drastically help you overcome your stutter. I have a story to share with you.

I have always been an expressive soul, but thankfully talking wasn’t one of my means to express myself and my thoughts, even before my selective-mutism. I don’t remember when I started writing, but I do distinctly remembering my speech therapist telling me that if I didn’t want to talk then I could always write. I thought that was a great idea.

At first, I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t just always write when I wanted to say something. My teachers were understanding, and so were my friends and family; so I had great support around myself to help me through that stage at that point in my life. And that’s what I did, for years.

At some point, however, I began to see writing as more than just a way I spoke. I began to see it as a means of expression. I was probably getting close to eight years old when I discovered that I could write stories. I have probably written hundreds of short stories throughout this time in my life, very few of which remain any significant of familiarity in my memory.

But what I do remember is how completing a story felt, without a blemish, shame, or fear of failure. Each time was an exhilarating feeling of achievement, pride, and confidence in my growing abilities to see and listen beyond my own limitations.

At some point, I began to notice a change in my writings. Of what recollections I have of my stories from that time, most of my earliest stories were little fan fictions of my favorite things/tv shows/movies, etc. Around the age of nine or ten, I noticed that my stories were shifting from these fan fictions to just fictions of the damsel in distress being saved from this great obstacle by the hero.

My speech therapist suggested that the reason why I was changing the style of my stories could be because of internal struggle to break through my own great obstacle (i.e. my speech impediment). At that point in my life, I don’t think it clicked that that’s indeed what I was trying to do. As far as I was concerned, I just found a new genre of writing that I liked and wanted to try. But in hindsight, that is exactly what was going on in my little kid brain at that time.

I don’t remember much of the nitty gritty details of these stories, but I do remember that a good chunk of the stories I had written from the ages of nine to eleven continued with this theme of a nameless hero rescuing and/or going on an adventure to fight and overcome this great obstacle.

All of those stories of the nameless hero rescuing the damsel in distress finally began to have an identity. The hero from years worth of stories was me, rescuing me from the fear of my speech impediment-the great obstacle. I can’t believe it took me so long to come to that conclusion.

I was so frustrated at myself for taking so long to finally understand, yet so relieved that I finally understood and had the confidence to pick up my sword and overcome this great obstacle; like the hero had done so many times before in my stories. I consistently spoke the most words I had in years that day in my speech therapist’s office. 

10. Create a role for yourself and act the part

This might sound weird, but here me out. I had created a role for myself in my stories where I was the hero saving me from my speech impediment. In that role, I was brave and I was actively fighting my great obstacle. Writing may not be everyone’s forte. It may not be yours, but have you tried creating a role for yourself where you didn’t have a speech impediment?  

This method might sound crazy for adult; but for young children, playing a role and acting out their character could help them tremendously overcome their speech impediment and boost their confidence greatly. If your child is struggling with stuttering, help them create a role for themselves where they either didn’t have the stutter or they were rescuing themselves from the stutter. It’s worth a shot.

11. Keep a journal of your progress, and read it out

Keeping track of progress is often a key step in the overall success of progress and overcoming challenges. Keeping track of your progress on overcoming stuttering is no different. Note everything, all of the ups and downs. Be sure to record track your progress every day, or every other day at least, so you can see your accomplishments are up to date.

Here is another helpful tip when journaling your progress, read it out to yourself every day. Reading aloud does a help with verbal articulation and can help reduce stuttering because it makes you more comfortable with talking, and it makes you confront your trigger words and overcome them.

12. Don’t get discouraged

This is plain and simple. Don’t get discouraged whenever you or your child has a stutter that is impacting your life. Yes, it is frustrating. But keep working on it. The worse thing for a child with a stutter is for their parent to stop working with them, that doesn’t encourage them. The same thing can be said for adults. The worse thing for adults with a stutter is to give up. There is support out there for adults with a stutter. Don’t give up. Just relax. And be like a turtle.

I cannot put into words how thankful I am those people in my life when I had gone through that phase in my life, especially my speech therapist. The people who were kind and patient with me, I was so fortunate to have them and I will forever be grateful for them.

There is a part of me that is also grateful to have gone through this experience. If I could have talked normally my entire life, would I have threw myself into writing like I had and used my passion to bringing fulfillment to overcome my greatest obstacle? There is a good chance I may have never picked up a pen if I hadn’t. What an incredibly boring life that would have been.

Hi! My name is Kathlyn and I love travel, history, foodies, and all things paranormal.

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