After a comprehensive evaluation by a speech-language pathologist, a decision about the best treatment approach can be made. Several different approaches are available to treat children and adults who stutter. Because of varying individual issues and needs, a method — or combination of methods — that's helpful for one person may not be as effective for another.
Treatment may not eliminate all stuttering, but it can teach skills that help to:
- Improve speech fluency
- Develop effective communication
- Participate fully in school, work and social activities
A few examples of treatment approaches — in no particular order of effectiveness — include:
- Speech therapy. Speech therapy can teach you to slow down your speech and learn to notice when you stutter. You may speak very slowly and deliberately when beginning speech therapy, but over time, you can work up to a more natural speech pattern.
- Electronic devices. Several electronic devices are available to enhance fluency. Delayed auditory feedback requires you to slow your speech or the speech will sound distorted through the machine. Another method mimics your speech so that it sounds as if you're talking in unison with someone else. Some small electronic devices are worn during daily activities. Ask a speech-language pathologist for guidance on choosing a device.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of psychotherapy can help you learn to identify and change ways of thinking that might make stuttering worse. It can also help you resolve stress, anxiety or self-esteem problems related to stuttering.
- Parent-child interaction. Parental involvement in practicing techniques at home is a key part of helping a child cope with stuttering, especially with some methods. Follow the guidance of the speech-language pathologist to determine the best approach for your child.
Although some medications have been tried for stuttering, no drugs have been proved yet to help the problem.