Four Tips for Talking with Someone Who Stutters

Posted in: Voice News  |  February 24, 2012 
Four Tips for Talking with Someone Who Stutters

More than 68 million people across the globe stutter when they speak. In the U.S. alone, that’s 3 million people. Behavioral and speech-language sessions can help those who stutter speak in smoother phrases, but how can their friends and family help them in the meantime? These four tips can help individuals stay supportive – and encouraging – during the treatment phase.

  1. Keep natural eye contact.
    Generally, people who stutter are aware that they do so and simply want to be addressed like anyone else. For others, it might feel instinctual to look away when stuttering occurs. That, however, can cause further pressure for the person stuttering to speak quicker.
  2. Don’t say, “Slow down” or, “Relax.”
    Similarly, these phrases can leave a person anxious during a moment of stuttering. It additionally implies that stuttering should be easy to fix, when often, it’s not.
  3. Be patient.
    In person, allow the proper time for someone to express his or her thoughts. And on phone calls, be prepared for potential silence, as many people who stutter have more trouble communicating by telephone.
  4. Don’t finish sentences.
    It’s tempting to complete a phrase for someone who seems to be having difficulty communicating. However, simply speaking at a relaxed speed and allowing extra time to listen can provide more support than supplying words.

For stuttering and other vocal conditions, we’re here to help. Call or stop by at your convenience for a speech consultation – or treatment that suits your schedule.