1.  Children become increasingly dysfluent when they are not heard.  Provide a home and school environment with good patient listeners, who use eye contact and body language to let the child know that his/her communication is valued.  Avoid reserving attentive listening for  times when the child is dysfluent.  This differential attention can actually result in increased dysfluency.

2.  Model a soft, slow, relaxed speech pattern when talking to the child.  children tend to imitate the speech models they hear.

3.  Provide opportunities for conversation during relaxed, quiet times, when the child is likely to be fluent.  compliment the child when he/she uses a relaxed manner of speech.  Give the child cues to relax when excited - 'I see you are anxious to tell me something.  Let's sit over here where we can relax while we talk.'

4.  Reduce an emphasis on speed or competition and individual verbal performance.  competitive activities may cause the child to hurry and speak dysfluently.

5.  Identify and modify any circumstances that appear to increase the amount of dysfluency (e.g. fatigue, excitement, speaking under pressure).  for example, if a child is often dysfluent when coming in from active physical play at recess, provide a quiet activity that encourages relaxation before speaking.

6.  Reassure the child that dysfluency happens to most people at some time, and that often it is because the person has so many thoughts that he/she wants to express.  Encourage him/her to relax and allow the time needed to communicate.

7.  Avoid - labeling the child as a stutterer
                - hurrying the child
                - speaking for the child
                - communicating anxiety about the dysfluency
                - insisting on verbal performance
                - competitive speaking situations
                - reinforcing dysfluent speech by giving extra attention when the child                    is dysfluent

Prepared by S. Penner  11/1/93