New Year - Old Fears

January 9, 2008 MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For many people, ringing in the New Year brings hope and joyful anticipation. But for those who struggle with stuttering, the old fears of speaking and being teased are the same.

“I was picked on so much about my stuttering,” recalls 16-year old Peter, “that I wouldn’t even go to lunch because I didn’t want to sit at a table by myself.”

“I don’t raise my hand in class because I’m worried about what others might think,” says 14-year old Juan.

A typical school day can be fraught with painfully embarrassing situations for school-age children who stutter.

Parents who notice their child beginning to stutter should seek help right away.

“In the past, experts incorrectly believed that giving attention to a child’s stuttering would exacerbate the situation,” said speech-language pathologist Lisa Scott, Ph.D. of The Florida State University. “We now know that children who stutter will have significantly less disfluent speech and a higher recovery rate if they are treated when they are young.”

To help parents gain a better understanding of stuttering, the Foundation offers a free streaming video in English and Spanish of Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents.

“Any time parents are concerned about a child’s fluency,” notes Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation, “they should educate themselves about the disorder and the many ways they can work to prevent stuttering from becoming a chronic problem.Early treatment for children who stutter is key!”