There are a lot of techniques that can help children who stutter. One example of this is the Lidcombe program.
The Lidcombe program was developed to treat stuttering in children below the age of 6. It is based on a body of laboratory-operant condition research and is done in two stages. In the first stage the objective is to stop the child from stuttering. The second is to reinforce the first so this can be maintained for a longer period.
The Lidcombe program was developed in Australia and used widely in Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Some are already using this in the United States, South African and several non-English speaking countries.
What makes the Lidcombe program so different from others is the fact that this is conducted by parents and not a speech language pathologist. This person is still there and his or her job is simply to teach the parents how to do this treatment.
Treatment using the Lidcombe program is very direct. This means directly giving feedback to the child about their speech. There is no negative feedback when this is being done with a child. If the child does not make any mistakes, the parent will reply “ no bumps there” or “that was lovely smooth talking.” However if the child stutters, the parents will acknowledge it and say “that was a stuck word” or “ try it again without the stuck word.” The parent does not have to give feedback each time the child speaks but chooses specific times.
A daily log is also used so the parent will be able to measure the child’s progress. The scale is from 0 to 10. If the child was rated a 0, this means this it was a stutter free day. Should the child score 10, then there was severe stuttering.
At the end of each week, the child, parent and speech language pathologist will examine the scores of the previous week.
As mentioned earlier, the Lidcombe program is comprised of two stages. When the child maintains a low stutter score, this is the time that stage 2 begins.
Treatment for the Lidcombe program varies and this depends on the child. But on average, most children move to stage 2 after 11 visits to the clinic.
The key to the Lidcombe program’s success is the positive support of both parents and children. This is because treatment is done in a comfortable environment namely the home and the one who is treating the child is either the mother or the father.
Parents who want to try the Lidcombe program should remember that this treatment must never interfere with the child’s communication. It should be a part of the child’s everyday life so you don’t need to set a time and place.
It will take some time to learn which is why from time to time, the speech language pathologist will visit the home to make sure the parents are doing it correctly.
The success of the Lidcombe program lies in the hands in the parents. Once they are able to master the skills that are taught to them, only then will the child be able tor reduce the number of times he or she stutters. If you have a child who stutters beyond six years of age, another program has to be used because this can only work for children in their pre-school years.