As children transition into teenagers, both the teen and their parents/caregivers enter a time of considerable changes and challenges. Teens who never seemed bothered by stuttering may suddenly withdraw from situations that require speaking or may appear to be socializing less with their peers. Others may seem to thrive in social settings but come home from school tired or in a bad mood from the effort it took to hide their stuttering. Teens may do a good job of concealing the impact of stuttering, but if we provide them with a safe space to open up, we may discover that they are not saying all they want to say or doing all they want to do.
Much like speech therapy for a school-aged child, speech therapy for a teenager begins with a comprehensive evaluation to assess not only what the stuttering looks and sounds like, but also how they think and feel about their stutter and how that is impacting the choices they are making each day.
As teenagers begin to develop more autonomy and independence, family participation in therapy may begin to evolve. Teenagers are encouraged to educate and involve family members in their therapy process, but they may need to explore ways to make that feel comfortable for them. Therapy goals may continue to address the observable features of stuttering such as helping the teen to stutter with less physical tension. However, for many, the goals center around reducing the impact of stuttering. This may include building confidence for classroom presentations, trying out for a school team, making new friendships and dating, developing skills they need as they select a college or begin a new job, and so much more.
Although we do not have the “cure” for stuttering that so many of our teens and their families are hoping for, speech therapy and community support can be life-changing resources to help teens navigate stuttering and become confident, effective communicators, whether or not they stutter!
If your child is between the ages of 13 and 18 and you have concerns about how stuttering is impacting them, please CLICK BELOW to schedule a consultation or contact Brooke Leiman Edwards, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-F at 646.403.3519 or Brooke@SAY.org.