As a speech language pathologist, I have treated several children who present with a stutter. Have you ever experienced that moment when you’re trying so hard not to cry that your voice cracks? Your throat feels tight, and to hide the emotion in your voice you have to take a deep breath and carry on. When a child stutters, this tightness can be part of their daily speech. Stuttering is often accompanied by physical tension in the body, particularly the vocal folds. The more aware of the stutter, the more people try not to stutter, which can create increased tension, anxiety, and overall more stuttering moments.
The good news is, research has shown that mindfulness and meditation can be an effective way to manage this feeling for some people. I use meditation practices weekly in speech therapy with my clients that stutter. Guided meditation is a great way to start. I use the app Headspace because they have guided meditation options that are specifically created for children of different ages. However, there are many options available! I have found that by using meditation techniques regularly, children learn how to release their physical tension and breathe easier while speaking. And even better, I have found that children can use meditation and mindfulness techniques to become more accepting of their stutter, which decreases anxiety in speaking situations.
If you are concerned that your child may present with a stutter, a speech and language evaluation with a speech language pathologist is a great place to start. At TEAM 4 Kids, we have options for individual and group treatment for children who stutter.
Breathe easy and have a wonderful day!