You Are Not Your Stammer

A thought occurred to me the other day when I was out shopping – I had just stammered and I did not even notice I'd done so.

In the past I would have beaten myself up about it. I would have been nervous about going up to the sales assistant and asking for something, and I would have been self-conscious the whole time I was in the shop – but this time was different. I had not cared how I felt, or given myself a hard time or, and this is the most important part, noticed how the other person reacted when I stammered.

I realized something else, I have not cared what others think for quite some time.

People who stammer often give their power away. They think in terms of damage limitation. They feel like they do not fit into society fully because they can not do what normal people do – speak fluently. Yet, how many people are normal? What is normality?

No one is normal if being normal means you fit into society in every possible way. We all have limitations. A person who stammers wears their limit in a place everyone can see it – or hear it.

The next time you speak to someone bear in mind that they know that just like you, they are not perfect. They've got their own stuff happening in their lives. Shift the emphasis onto them if you like. Think about not judging them because they are not perfect and this will reflect back to you. Instead of expecting they will not judge you or mock you, think about them with kindness.

Take the TV presenter Jonathan Ross as an example, he's got two choices – put his head in the sand or embrace life. People notice his personality and warmth much more than they notice his lisp because he exudes indifference – I've got a lisp but it does not define me.

You are not your stammer!

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Do You Accept Your Stammer?

Someone once said that if you accept your stammer completely then you will not stammer. How true these words are.

How many of us can say we are even close to accepting our stammer?

Do you use words like 'I have this stammer and it does not worry me', or 'I love going to parties and socialising'. I do not know about you but these phrases were never part of my vocabulary. I hated my stammer and pushed it away at every opportunity.

What we resist persists

The more I pushed the stammer away the bigger it got. So, I did something about it. I decided not to fight it anymore. By not fighting the stammer I was able to let go of some of the pressure I had found myself under all those years. I did not spend time hiding the fact that I stammered, in fact, I told as many people I could find that I stammer and, more importantly, that I was doing something positive about it. People saw my determination to recover from my stammering infliction and offered nothing but praise and support.

The more I did something positive about my speech the closer I got to accepting it, but it was not easy. I stayed away from negative people, the ones that say 'it's hopeless' or 'I believe I'll always stammer and never amount to much'. I may never be fluent but most people who do not stammer are not.

Look for the positive and it will find you

When you start to do something positive, even make a tiny step, you will find yourself in a better place. People love triers, so try. There are tools and techniques for people who stammer so look for the ones that suit you. You will find them, so start looking. Then practice getting better at the sport of speaking. Make it a life's work and create a beautiful tapestry. Make improving your speech exciting. Tell people about your little victories.

Start now!

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I’m Afraid I’ll Pass On My Stammer To My Child

Are you afraid you'll pass your stammer on to your child? If the thought of reading your little one bedtime stories feels daunting then do not suffer in silence, you can do something about it right now.

I have a friend who did not want children because she stammered. She was terrified of passing her stammer on. When she spoke she blocked on words profusely, at her children's bedtime she changed the words of their stories, which must have been extremely difficult for her – how do you read The Gruffalo if you stammer on the letter 'g'?

Stammering is frustrating to say the least, it's a problem many people do not understand. A friend used to say “I'm here and you're safe with me so just say the word,” while I had the all too familiar feeling of my throat muscles tightening, then no air coming out. But do not get all helpless on me. Do not give up (you would not be reading this if have), listen to that little part of you that's frustrated or angry and that's the voice that's telling you to do something about your stammer.

Do not fight it anymore

You can stop labeling it as 'yours' for a start. Do not claim your stammer and wear it like a badge of disability. I was excused answering the phone when I was younger because I stammered – what? Not anymore! You are not your stammer. You make it bigger by highlighting the fact that you are afflicted by this evil stammering monster. So, make friends with it. If you fight it, you will not beat it and by making friends you're not giving in, you're empowering yourself.

What can we do about stammering

Bring your voice down and away from the throat area – up there is where you block and stammer so bring it down and deep and focus on the sound coming from the chest.

Every time you speak start deep and assertive, start as you mean to go, like you are a force in the speaking world. Over exaggerate when you're alone.

Most importantly, breathe. Stammerers do not breathe. Breath in deep and from your chest and out the same way (mentally of course) Learn how to costal breathe. Costal breathing is a wonderful technique to learn it gives your speech a solid foundation.

When you come to that feared word, the one you normally have trouble saying, do not give up use voluntary stammering. Slide through the previous, non-feared word and you'll be to say the scared word, eg if you want to say 'that's my orange' and you think you'll stammer on 'orange', slide on the 'th' sound of 'that's' – th ——– at my my orange.

You can reduce your stammer significantly and doing it for your children could well be the boost you need. The methods above are the start of many techniques available to people that stammer. Believe me, you can take that first step towards being positive about your speech and keep going. Just put one foot in front of the other and you'll get there.

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What Is Stuttering?

Stuttering is a speech disorder where the person knows what they want to say but at the time can not say it because of a problem in the control and flow of their speech.

There are different types of Stuttering:

Repetitions of sounds, syllables, words or phrases
eg: “I, I, I, I want that.”, “Wh, Wh, What's that?” “Can I, Can I, Can I come too?”
Prolongations or stretching out a sound at the beginning or in the middle of a word eg: “Rrrrrabbit”
Blocks where the person “gets stuck” and can not say the sound or word.

There may also be unusual movements of the face and body associated with the stuttering.

Do all people stutter to some extent?
Young children may go through a stage of “non-fluency” in early speech development where they may use repetitions similar to those of children who stutter. A Speech Pathologist is able to distinguish between these non-fluencies and stuttering. Adults may use interjections such as “Um ..”, “Well ..”, and occasionally repeat words and phrases without these being considered as stuttering.

Does Stammering mean the same thing as stuttering?
Yes. In Australia we generally use the term stuttering.

What causes stuttering?
Stuttering is currently believed to be a speech motor disorder, where the speech muscles become “overloaded” and they trip up at the beginning of a sentence. It is caused to some extent by genetic factors, and often a history of stuttering is known within the family. Once a child begins to stutter there are common factors that typically trigger an increase in the frequency or severity of stuttering. These triggers may include excitment, tiredness, and competitiveness for a turn to talk. Four times as many boys as girls stutter.

Is stuttering caused by emotional or psychological problems?
No. Children who stutter are no more likely to have psychological problems than children who do not stutter. Whilst emotional factors can worsen stuttering, there is no evidence that this is the cause for stuttering to begin.

At what age does stuttering usually occur?
Stuttering typically begins between 2 and 4 years of age.

What should I do if my child begins to stutter? Should I wait or seek help?
You should seek an assessment by a Speech Pathologist as soon as you become concerned. Whilst it is possible for a child to recover naturally from stuttering, it is also possible that stuttering can become a lifelong, chronic speech disability. Early stuttering very typically occurs in cycles. Episodes of stuttering may occur for days or weeks, followed by apparent recovery where the stuttering may stop or decrease in frequency and / or severity. Often the stuttering reoccurs. These cycles can persist for long periods of time, typically worsening with each recurrence. It is therefore still advisable to have your child evaluated by a Speech Pathologist even if the stuttering appears to have gone away.

Once stuttering has begun, can it be treated?
Stuttering in children can be very effectively treated, particularly in the early preschool years, ie before the age of 6 years. Treatment programs are available for adolescents and adults but because their speech muscles are no longer as flexible as those of youngger children, treatment techniques for these groups of people are directed at teaching them how to control their stutter rather than eliminating it from their speaking altogether. A Speech Pathologist is trained to deal with people of all ages who stutter.

What should I do when I hear a child stutter?
Simply maintain eye contact and allow the child to continue in their attempt to speak. It is important to not try to help by giving suggestions such as “Stop and try again”, “Think about what you want to say and try again” and “Slow down”. These comments can worsen the child's stutter rather than help. A Speech Pathologist will be able to advise you on the best ways to help your child.

What should I do when I hear an adult stuttering?
As with children, it is important to maintain eye contact and pay attention to what is being said and allow the speaker to continue with their attempt to speak.

Terms that may be used in the topic of stuttering
stammering, dysfluency

Useful Websites
Private Speech Pathologists Association, Perth, Western Australia
http://www.pspawa.com.au

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Speech and Language Difficulties After a Stroke

In 2009 the FAST campaign was introduced to increase people's awareness of what symptoms people display when they have a stroke and what we should do. The signs to look out for:

Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say
Time to call 999 for an ambulance if you spot any one of these signs

Around 1/3 of people who suffer a stroke each year will experience some degree of communication difficulty.

Speech and language therapists work as part of a multi disciplinary team in hospitals and in the community to support the rehabilitation of people with communication difficulties.

If a stoke affects the language center of the brain (found on the left side) then people may develop Aphasia.

Aphasia is the term used to difficulty language problems. This may mean difficulties in understanding what is being said, problems with finding the right word or being able to explain what you mean. People with aphasia may also have problems with reading and writing. The extent of the aphasia varies from person to person depending upon the stroke.

People who suffer a stroke in brain stem or the right side of the brain may have problems with muscle movements required to speak this is called dysarthria and may mean the person has slurred speech, low volume, and may be very difficult to understand though they do do not have any of the language difficulties with understanding or being able to think of the words they wish to use.

Communication problems can affect people's sense of independence, eg understanding conversation, accessing information and dealing with letters and emails.

It often affects a persons role within the family and their close relationships.

There is an impact on peoples confidence in social situations and how they feel about themselves (people may feel a sense of loneliness, isolation and depression.)

Speech and language therapists are trained to assess and diagnose a range of communication and swallowing problems that can occur after a stroke or other brain injury.

Following this assessment they then work with the person who has the stroke and their families to support their recovery and where possible to introduce strategies and support, to enable the person with the communication difficulty to get their message across and participate as fully as possible in their lives.

There are a number of organizations that support people who have communication difficulties following a stroke.

http://www.strokeassociation.org

http://www.differentstrokes.co.uk/

Different strokes is a group for younger people who have had a stroke

To gain insight about having a stroke and communication disorders the following books may be of interest:

Falling and laughing the restoration of Edwyn Collins by Grace Maxwell
Running Free: Breaking Out from Locked-in Syndrome Kate Allatt
The diving bell and the butterfly Jean-Dominique-Bauby

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The Stuttering Gene Myth

The press regularly print articles that would have us believe that we are programmed by our genetic make-up. This is especially true of many stutterers (or stammerers) I have met and who claim that they stutter because of a family trait. The truth is there is no stuttering gene and never will be, to believe that your speech is the way it is because your mother or your father or your great uncle Bob stuttered is holding you back. Believing in the stuttering gene myth may stop you from becoming the fine speaker you could be.

The myth that genes control biology

According to cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton the idea that genes control biology has never been proved. In 1990 HF Nijhout produced a paper that dispelled the theory. The paper was called 'Metaphors and the Role of Genes and Development'. Nijhout argues that the supposition of genes controlling biology has been repeated so many times that we forget it has never substantiated. Nijhout goes on to say that our society has become hooked on the idea 'that genetic engineers are the new medical magicians'. We want to believe that we can find a different gene for each kind of disorder, including aa stuttering gene, in the same way that we want to believe that we can create more geniuses like Einstein and Beethoven.

So, how do genes work?

Nijhout summaries the way genes work as follows, “When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not an emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene.” In other words it's the environment that activates genes, the genes do not primarily activate themselves.

Bruce Lipton uses a clear analogy to further establish the role of genes in biology. He says that if you are given a set of keys and told that a particular key controls a car – does that key really control the car? If it did control the car it may take it for a ride around town when you are not looking, so you would have to keep an eye on it. In truth, the person who turns the key is in control of the car. He states that “Specific genes are correlated with an organism's behavior and characteristics. But these genes are not activated until something triggers them.”

The fact that my father stuttered and also his mother has nothing to do with a family stuttering gene that I inherited. Instead, it is because of the environment, and this is an area that is individual to each person – your environment caused you to stutter not your stuttering gene.

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Don’t Stammer Out Of Control – Speak When You’re Ready

I'm sure we've all met a good speaker, someone who we could sit and listen to all day. But have you ever thought about why they speak so well?

A person who speaks well comes across as calm and in control even if they may not feel that way themselves (I've met many of these kinds of people). They have good eye contact and most of all they resist other people's time pressure and speak when they are ready. If you want to speak well this is vital.

Time pressure is all in the mind

When my stammer was out of control I defeated myself before I even started, in the most important place – my mind. I believed I would not get the words out and I really felt that I was taking up the other person's precious time.

Of course, other people do not think like this. A listener will allow us time to speak, they'll even allow us time to stammer – if we do not give our power away. If you stammer then stammer with dignity and try not to act like someone who does not deserve to be in the conversation.

Practice slowing down and take steps to more confident speaking

Diaphragmatic (or costal) breathing and speaking with a deaf tone are powerful techniques that when mastered will help you speak better and with more confidence. When these are practiced without time pressure you will be able to speak using a strong method and at your own pace.

Speaking when you're ready will feel strange at first because as a person that stammers you will want to jump in and make a sound whether that sound is fluent or not. If you center yourself, look the listener in the eyes and begin they will pick up on the fact that you have respect for yourself and they will in turn respect you – even if you stammer!

Slowly regaining your self-respect in this way can take your speech to new places, even new heights.

Start practicing right now! There will be a time when the positive will outweigh the negative

Those of us that stammer have a whole bank of past hurts and negative memories. We have built them up over time. I will leave you with this thought:

When you begin right now to do something positive about your speech and to be consistent the tide will eventually turn. It does not matter when, do not focus on that, understand that by becoming more positive about the art of speaking there will be a time when the positivity will outweigh negative and you will have created a bank of positive memories and a new confident mindset.

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Applications for the Speech Impaired

Speech hurtment affects people in the way they create sounds to form words. Some of the most common forms of injury are stuttering, apraxia, and dysarthria. Affected people are not able to say even though they are fully aware of what they need.

This becomes a major problem for most people as they can not communicate freely. Luckily, the digital world has made it easy for speech impaired people to communicate with others. Here are some of the used apps for those affected.

Vaakya – ACC App

Another important app for the speech impaired people is the Vaakya – AAC app. It is a photo based app that is designed to assist people with speech problems. Individuals with speech problems arising from aphasia, strokes or MND / ALS can use the app. Similarly, people suffering from cerebral palsy, autism and other mental related problems can take advantage of the app.

AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Vaakya – AAC can assist people during rehabilitation. The app is both suitable for both literate and illustrite people since its photo based and therefore easy to use. Users can create their own set of photos as well as audio that relates to someone so that they can communicate effectively. There is a custom setting for users to take advantage of to communicate. At the moment, Vaaky – AAC runs on the Android platform only.

Talkitt App

This is an essential app for people with speech, language, and motor disorders. It is “speech to speech” app that gives disabled people the freedom to express themselves naturally. This is made possible by letting them use their voice to communicate. It can recognize speech patterns and translate into words that are understandable.

Talkitt can translate unintelligible pronunciation to perfect sentences with high accuracy. Also, the app can work in almost any spectrum of speech disadvantage severity from mild to severe. What's more, the app can translate the user's speech to any language. The apple is compatible with both iOS and on Android.

Touch Voice App

This app has been designed to address problems faced by people with various medical conditions such as brain tumors, selective mutism, brain injury, Parkinson's and others. It is always a struggle for both the listener and the speaker having speech disadvantage problems. The app is designed to articulate their needs and to feel quickly and thus reducing their stress levels extremely leading them to a comfortable life.

The app also uses AAC to allow speech impaired people to communicate via voice synthesis through clicking of buttons and photos. The app can be downloaded on Android and iOS platforms. There is also an optional web based app that users can use.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Speech Therapy

Sometimes a child is unable to understand and express language or troubles in pronouncing words which may deprive in language development and communication skills. There are many kinds of speech defects due to different problems. But the most common problem spotted among children has delayed speech and language development. Speech defects can also be caused due to a severe injury or some medical condition. Speech therapy is a process to improve child's ability to understand the language using different methods and techniques for enhancing the language development and communication skills. Speech therapy often includes two common techniques for enhancing the language development.

1) Verbal Technique:

In this technique, coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences. This technique is to regulate the volume and fluency of child. Understanding the alphabets and its uses for word and sentence formation is very necessary. The verbal technique can help in understanding the basics of the language. With the help of little effort from both the therapist as well as the child, language can be interpreted conveniently.

2) Understanding and Expressing Technique:

In this technique, the child is trained to address the language through written sign and pictorial forms. There are interactive software's with the latest technology and great user interface primarily developed for speech therapy sessions. This fun software creates a playful environment for the children and also enhances the learning experience.

Three major benefits of speech therapy:

1) Positive attitude towards vocal communication:

With the help of latest technology and methods, the child can learn the use of language for communication very easily and effectively. With the help of regular speech therapy sessions, the child can develop normal speech habits with the friends or family resulting in a positive attitude towards vocal communication.

2) Elimination of child's fear of stammering:

Slowly and gradually with the help of regular speech therapy sessions, the child can also be taught to be confident and motivated at the same time. There are certain speech therapy games for the children which can also help in gaining confidence. The raised confidence will eventually help in eliminating the child's fear and stammering problems. Moreover, the experienced therapists constantly work in removing child's fear of stammering.

3) Developing good fluency:

Increased confidence can lead the child in many positive ways. The final stage of language development is fluency which can be achieved by regular practice. Children can learn words, gestures, and expressions while practicing the language and achieve perfection with respect to time and effort. With the same practice, the children can even fluency. Moreover, the expert therapists constantly stimulate the child and increase their enthusiasm with respect to the language and communication skills.

Conclusion:

There are many children who face speech defects and each one of them can be treated with right steps and correct guidance. Speech therapy is useful and effective at the same time. Moreover, it helps in building confidence, stability, and precision among the children. With the help of an experienced therapist and latest software, the child can overcome the speech defect quickly and easily.

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How To Implement Speech Therapy During The Summer Months

For children who have problems with articulation, it is important to get as much speech and language practice as possible. This often means that parents need to plan some activities while their child is out of school for the summer to help prevent any regression or delay in their progress. The great thing about speech therapy is that it can be done virtually anywhere, from the backyard to a summer vacation. Some of the best skill-building techniques can be made into fun activities that the child will enjoy doing. The following are some examples of games to play with children to enhance their abilities.

Play In The Sand

Nothing illustrates summertime better than sand, whether it is at the beach or in a sandbox in the backyard. While children are playing with their sand toys, take the opportunity to turn it into an activity that will help with their language skills. Bury some small toys in the sand for the children to find. As they pull them out of the sand, have them say the word for the object before they place it in their sand buckets. If this game is done at the beach, be sure to do this activity in a small area, and do not bury the objects too deep, or it could become frustrating for the children.

Road Trip Games

If the family is taking a summer road trip, think of some different language games that can be played on the way. Games using word and letter sounds, like the “license plate game” or the “ABC game,” can be both fun and educational. Have the child name objects that he or she sees that make the “k” sound, for instance. Including the entire family in this game, as it can be really fun and challenging.

Sidewalk Chalk

Summer is an ideal time to play outside, and many children enjoy drawing on the sidewalk or driveway with chalk. Think of different games that the family can play together, such as hopscotch with letters instead of numbers. Another idea is to have the children lie on the driveway (when it is cool, of course) and outline each other. Then have the children name items of clothing or accessories as they draw and color them in. The child could also just draw pictures of objects and name the letters and sounds of each item. The chalking options are limitless.

Read Books

Few things are better for a child than reading. It is even more essential for a child needing speech therapy to read along with a parent in order to work on his or her skills. During the hot part of summer days, gather the child with a favorite picture book and have him or her tell you a story using what he or she sees in the book. Have the child articulate the words they are using.

Speech therapy is very important for the development of language skills in many children, so it is crucial not to miss out during the summer months. Take some time before school is dismissed to come up with some ideas to enhance the child's articulation skills.

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Technology and Brain Injury – Friends or Foes?

When an individual suffers a brain injury, there is often a mad rush by family members to find every possible way to help in the recovery process. Technology is such a huge part of life these days that there are many people that see technology as the wave of the future for raising brain injury shortcomings – and many therapists would agree with them.

According to Quora.com, there are over 500 new apps launched each day across the world. With each new app there is a possibility for living differently and learning something new. In the world of rehabilitation, new apps means new ways for therapists to reach farther into the world of technology to find different ways to help patients that have suffered a brain injury.

When looking for apps that could help with brain injury recovery, it is important to remember a few key points:

  1. What is the goal of the app?
  2. How hard is the app to learn?
  3. Is there a cost for use?
  4. Are there different skill levels?

It is important to think about what a patient needs when looking for a specific app to help with brain injury recovery. For example, if a patient needs to learn to read, then an app with lots of directions would not be a good choice. Finding an app with simple directions, such as a focus on filling in words or completing sentences, would be a good choice. There are many apps for adults that will also assist with the process of learning to read, which may work well for individuals relearning those skills after a stroke or brain injury.

Apps that have complicated directions or steps to start the program are typically not good for someone trying to work on cognitive skills. An app with two or three short descriptions for directions, or individual step by step directions that can be seen when using the app, may work best.

There are thousands of free apps available for the different types of smartphones and tablets. With free apps, there ay still be in app charges that exist beyond just the free portion of the download. It is important to read the details of the app prior to purchase to ensure that it does not need a lot of money to play and participate.

The goal of an app when used as a therapeutic tool is to help someone improve function in a specific area. Some apps offer levels of difficulty, so that when one area or level has been reached, there is a next step to continue learning a task or practice a skills. This levered learning is helpful when a patient wants to learn only one or two games, instead of having to get multiple apps to find harder and harder tasks to complete.

With any app purchase it is important to try them out – a free app is always a good choice, and is a way to find interesting and fun ways to work on the therapeutic goals without getting bored. Try different games, even if they do not feel interesting, as you may be surprised by what you can learn, and how much even simple games can improve skills that have been disrupted by a brain injury.

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Simple and Effective Tips to Stop Stuttering

You will be surprised to know that nearly one per cent of the total world population stutters. Stuttering is a condition for which there is no medical cure and more men than women tend to get affected with this. There are various methods that can be learnt, that will help you get rid of it and allow you to speak fluently.

The condition normally starts from childhood and as one progresses into addiction, it disappears. But if you are not among the fortunes where the stuttering disappears on its own there, are techniques that will teach you to overcome this problem.

Let us look at some simple and interesting tips on how to stop stuttering

  • Did you know that singing the words, rather than trying to speak, helps stop stuttering. You might think of it as a weird idea but when you practice it, you will be surprised at the effectiveness.
  • You can get a book and try reading from it, to your family and friends. It will help boast your confidence levels and with practice your stammering will stop.
  • Before you actually start speaking, visualize the words that you want to use.
  • Talk slowly and clearly. Do not rush into the exercise, which will only add to the pressure.
  • If you are about to speak a big and difficult word, take a deep breath before you start. If possible try breaking the word into smaller pieces, so that you do not get stuck with one word.
  • If you think chewing on something when you speak, helps control stuttering, try it.
  • Try speaking either very loudly or in whispers. Both these methods will help eliminate stuttering.
  • Holding your breath while speaking is a big mistake; this will only make the condition worse. Try speaking when you exhale.
  • Stuttering gets worse when you are tense. Calm your nerves before you start speaking. You can also try meditation for this purpose.
  • Pause and collect your thoughts before you speak. This will help you speak in a relaxed manner.
  • Do not try speaking a very big sentence at one stretch. Speak one word at a time and slowly complete the sentence.

All these wonderful tips will help you get rid of stuttering. It will be difficult practicing these tips initially but with practice, you will be able to overcome you fear and speak fluently. All you need is patience and will to overcome this condition.

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The Magic of Storytelling

We all tell stories all the time. It's an important part of how we get along with other people. We tell jokes, talk about what we've been doing and make up stories to entertain others. 'Personal narrative', where children relate stories about their own experiences, is an important part of personal identity. Storytelling ability also helps children with their literacy development and academic learning. So, it's a good skill to promote, even in young children!

At the tender age of 3, children are not expected to be great storytellers. They do live mostly in the moment and need some help along the way to be able to recall things that have happened to them. Parents can help to promote narrative skill through:

1. Parental responses. For example, if your 3 year old says “We went to Paris”, you could say “Yes we went to Paris and we climbed up the tower. We were so high up! … What could you see from the top? ” In this way, you are helping him to recall the experience.

2. Shared storytelling. For example:

You start by saying “Tom, was not that fun going swimming?”

Tom nods.

You add, “You loved the water did not you?”

Here says, “I got splashed”

You reply, “Yes that's right. You got splashed a lot, did not you? There was a big splash. But you were okay.”

Here adds more, “Wore my hat.”

You again elaborate on what he has said. “Oh yes, you had your swimming hat on. You were your blue swimming hat.”

At this point, parent and child are constructing a story by taking turns. The parent is actively listening to what the child has said and building on it in their response.

3. Props ~ use of props, such as photos, train tickets, icecream wrappers, pebbles, leaves and so on help to anchor recall. You can look at them, feel them, smell them, stick them in a scrapbook and use them as sensory reminders of where you were and what happened.

4. Focus ~ try and make a mental note of things that your child finds the most interesting on any trip, rather than what you as parents find most interesting. For example, if the train is the most interesting part of a trip for your son, notice anything that he says about the train eg “it's noisy!” When you are citing the experience together, you can look at the photo you have taken of the train and say “Oh look. We went on that train.”

These might sound like little things, but if you do them regularly, making them part of everyday experience, they will support a child's narrative development. Remember that you may well be doing more of the telling than your child. Remember to balance comments with questions too: it is better to use more comments and less questions. When you do ask questions, try to think of ones that you know your child will be able to answer. If he does not immediately answer a question, give him a little time and then try 'completion completion'. For example, you could say “We went on the train to …”, he can then add “Paris!” Your child will get a sense of accomplishment and involvement by completing the sentence and contributing to the story.

5. Share books ~ share picture books that your child likes, around characters and subjects that they find interesting. Get your child involved in the storytelling by asking them easy questions and using 'sentence completion'. For example, you could say “Oh look. He turned into a …” and the child gets to complete the sentence.

6. 'Model' narrative ~ modeling is when you provide the stories and your child can listen, join in and learn. You can comment and embellish on play as it happens. Stories can be very short! For example, during play you could say “Oooh, he's going to fall off! Uh oh. He's fallen off”. Or you can create longer stories about toys. Children love stories about everyday experiences, like cooking and going to the park, as well as ones about monsters and other fantastic tales.

Storytelling is magical, so whatever you do, help your child to get involved!

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What To Do When Your Child Needs Speech Therapy

When your child has issues speaking, you may feel at a loss for what to do to help. Speaking properly is a problem many children have and is often detected by the age of three or four. If your young one has trouble saying certain letters, such as “s” or “r,” you may want to consider getting them professional help. Learn what to do if your needs speech speech therapy.

Take Them to a Specialist

An ear, nose, and throat doctor should be the first specialist you see when you think your young one has speech problems. This type of doctor will make sure there are no physical defects such as an enlarged tongue, swollen throat, or issues with the shape of the mouth or gums.

Seek a Therapist

Speech therapy is beneficial to young children. Therapists can help children feel more confident using their words. A therapist uses special tools like cue cards and mouth exercises to help. Make sure they see a therapist once a week for several months or years as they learn to improve their communication.

Speech Therapy at School

Schools often offer special classes designed to help struggling students pronounce phrases better. Working in groups can be a good way for your student to practice communicating with better clarity. Sessions may last a half hour or more, depending on how severe your child's impediment is. If you choose to do this in addition to using a therapist, make sure the professional knows what methods of learning are being used so that they can employ similar methods.

What You Can Do at Home

Helping your young one at home is key to their success. First of all, alert any other children in the home of the issue. Explain to them that they are not to tease, taunt, mimic, or torment their sibling because of the impediment. You can also use special tools given to you by your therapist to help your child learn how to pronounce sentences and individual sounds. Cue cards, follow-along videos, and tapes are essential tools you can utilize.

Many young children face this kind of challenge every day. You do not have to suffer as a parent. It may take many months or years, but over time you should see success with speech therapy. Talk to a specialist who can refer you to an excellent therapist. The results will lead to a confident and happy child.

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How to Spot and Deal With Your Toddler’s Speech Problems

If you believe your toddler is having a problem properly developing speech, a doctor specializing in speech pathology can help put your worries at rest or create a positive therapy regimen to get them back on track. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if a toddler has a problem, or is just developing differently. Each child develops at their own rate, and they have different personalities. One child may be particularly talkative and another may have excellent speech skills, but simply be more reserved. It's easy to get worried about your child, but by keeping in good communication with their doctor, you can address any problems, should they arise.

For a toddler, some issues with speech are typical, such as difficulty making certain sounds or periods of not talking much because of contentment or shyness. If you have reason to believe there may be an issue beyond the normal circumstances, then take a few notes before your child's next doctor's visit. The more information that can be provided to the doctor, the better the diagnosis they can make through speech pathology. Start with the words that your child understands. Pay attention to how well they comprehend when you ask them questions, tell them stories, and interact with them.

It is said that it is quite normal for toddlers to understand words perfectly, but not quite have the skills to use them. It takes time to develop vocabulary. Watch how much they talk when they interact with you, and what other things they do to make their point. If your child wants something, they simply may not know the words. Speech pathology supports that if they use complex gestures, like grab your hand and walk you to an item or point to something out of reach, then they are on the right track. It means they are learning. Once they have comprehension, children typically begin speaking within a short time. It could be helpful to praise them when they do use words, rather than gestures.

Speech pathology studies prove that making certain sounds in the English language are complicated and difficult for most young children to do correctly. Some medical professionals believe that you should encourage them to try. If they get it wrong, praise them for the effort and gently repeat the word with the correct pronunciation. Pay attention to how their words are formed and if there seems to be a problem with forming any particular sounds. Common sense dictates that with practice, they will soon get it right. However, it could be smart to mention to the doctor if you notice a consistent problem.

In order to asses if your child is developing at a normal rate, or if they need a little help, the doctor will perform a few simple tests. The field of speech pathology has a few benchmarks by which they can measure your child's aptitude. The information you provide about their daily interactions is key. A hearing test might be used, along with some simple interactions for the doctor to assess cognitive levels. In many cases, the child is just fine and simply needs more time to continue on their path. In other cases, the issues can be adjusted with simple therapy methods. Often, children continue to develop, with no trace of the former issue.

Remember to check with your doctor before taking any treatment or medical remedy.

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