Blog by Jane Fraser
Dec. 13, 2019
Within the stuttering community, the parental fear that a child is beginning to stutter is very well known—and very real. One in 20 children will stutter for a time during their development. One in 100 will continue to stutter after adolescence, and potentially, for a lifetime.
At the Stuttering Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee, our email inbox and toll free number (800-992-9392) receive inquiries from anxious parents every day wanting to understand the cause, the treatment, and the likelihood of permanency of stuttering. Most importantly, they want to know what they can do to help their child.
Pediatric nurses are on the front lines of stuttering information distribution. When a concerned parent first notices any speech irregularities, they often visit their pediatrician for advice. A parent takes a toddler in for a wellness check-up and discusses the concerns—repeating words, syllables, or phrases. Sometimes they tell of a block—when no words come out—or facial expressions and irregular movements. The parents are always worried. This is often the first time stuttering is brought up in a clinical setting—and pediatric nurses have the first chance to offer expert information.
For more than 70 years, the Foundation has provided current, trusted information about stuttering for the pediatric medical community to share in the clinical setting. Our books, brochures, videos, and referrals have reached those seeking help in more than 135 countries around the world—and we work hard to ensure that pediatric nurses know where to turn for information they can share when they suspect a child is stuttering. Our website has an entire section dedicated to the pediatric office.
The Foundation has collected several tools for the pediatric health care community, including:
- Checklist for referral
- A risk factors chart
- Differential diagnosis guidelines
- 7 Tips for parents
- The etiology of stuttering
The Foundation has worked for decades with pediatric nurses and doctors to provide stuttering information for families in their time of need. The onset of stuttering can be a confusing time for a new parent and the Foundation helps support pediatric nurses with information that can help put parents at ease.
Jane Fraser is president of the Stuttering Foundation and co-author of If Your Child Stutters: A Guide for Parents, 8th edition. She is also vice president of the Action for Stammering Children, Michael Palin Centre in London.