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How Stuttering Affects Children Socially and Where to Seek Help

There is Hope – and Help!
Despite the negative social impact of stuttering, there are many indications that stuttering does not have to interfere with overall life functioning. Many Australians witnessed singer Harrison Craig’s inspirational story, as he overcame his stuttering and went on to win Australia’s most popular singing competition, The Voice, in 2013. There are many other cases of people who have achieved success in the presence of stuttering, including award-winning actress Emily Blunt, actress and singer Marilyn Monroe, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

According to Mark Irwin, National President of the Australian Speak Easy Association, "Talking skill is just one aspect of life. Smiling, listening, walking, running, swimming, learning are just some of the many others. Finding things I liked doing, and enjoying doing them better and better every day, helped me feel confident despite my stutter."

For parents of children who stutter, there is help at hand. Encouraging a child who stutters to enjoy a wide range of talents and interests will help to build their self-esteem. If you are interested in treatment options for your child, you can contact the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Macquarie University, the Australian Stuttering Research Centre at the University of Sydney, your GP, or your local Community Health Centre. The website for Speech Pathology Australia also provides a listing of speech pathologists working privately around Australia. If your child is having speaking-related issues at school, have a chat with your child’s teacher or school principal to look at ways that your child’s learning and confidence can be enhanced in the classroom.

*Dr Lisa Iverach is a Member of the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University.  Dr Iverach and Professor Ron Rapee AM are investigating the social and emotional impact of childhood stuttering. This study is being conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sydney, and the University of Newcastle. The research team are seeking children aged 7-11 years, both those who stutter and those who don’t, to participate in this research. Interested parents can contact Dr Iverach at lisa.iverach@mq.edu.au.

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