Activities for Enhancing Fluency

1. Use Easy Talking. Talk slower than your typical speed, but not too slowly, choppy, or robot-like. One way to slow down is to use phrased speech (i.e., I went…to the store….to buy….some bananas).

2. Encourage your child to practice talking slower than normal. You want your child to practice a speaking rate that is somewhere in between the rate he/she uses in therapy and the rate he/she used before having therapy. Your child does not have to use this slower rate all the time. He/she only needs to use the slower rate as a tool to speak fluently when he/she is starting to have difficulty.

3. Give your child plenty of time to talk. You want your child to not feel pressured to talk quickly. Give him/her the time he/she needs to think before answering and not lose your attention in the process.

4. Avoid interrupting your child. If your child knows he will not be interrupted and lose out on saying what he/she wanted to say, he/she will be more likely to talk slowly and think about what he/she is saying resulting in less stuttering.

5. Pause before Answering questions. Pause before answering your child’s question to show that your child has time to think before answering as well. Tell your child “I am thinking” to encourage him/her to do it as well. Praise your child for “thinking” (pausing) before answering a question.

6. Use Modified Questioning. Do not ask demanding questions with little time to answer. Instead ask questions that do not require a response such as “I wonder what you did at school today. This gives the child time to think about his/her answer.

Examples include:

  • I wonder…

  • I think…

  • I bet…

  • I guess…

  • Maybe…

  • It looks like…

  • Let’s see if…

  • Why don’t we try…

7. Recasting/Rephrasing Strategy. Repeat what your child said and add to it (i.e., if your child said, “I threw the b-b-b-ball,” you should say slowly “That’s right. You threw the blue ball.”). This way your child hears what he/she said in an easier, more relaxed way. It also reassures your child that you heard what he/she said.

8. Make sure your child has plenty of sleep. When your child sleeps well, he/she can focus better which results in increased fluency.

9. Do not talk negatively about your child’s disfluencies around him/her. Everyone stutters to some extent when asked to talk about complicated information. For a child with a language delay, a question such as “What did you do today?” is difficult for him/her now. As their language skills improve, every day questions will not be as difficult for them resulting in less disfluencies. The problem starts when your child gets frustrated about his/her disfluencies and thinks any disfluencies are bad.