Thank you to Tams Raymond for this eloquent overview of how she is using the Voice Unearthed approach. Many parents feel that not pursuing therapy focused on fixing their child’s stutter is the same as not doing anything. Parents are key to this journey and need to be empowered with intentional, practical and joyful strategies focused on keeping their kids talking and engaged in the world around them. More and more therapists are making the shift to support parents and for that I’m grateful!! Here goes…
I’ve read this book recently and now lent it to my daughter’s teacher. It hugely changed my actions. My daughter hasn’t had any therapy input, and I don’t think we will pursue this now at all. Here are some notes I made from the book, which I have been trying to employ, so far so good! Both an improvement in the stammer, behaviour and most importantly, happiness!
Help her to feel important;
- Give her jobs which are important
- Let her make decisions
- Let her be in charge
- Praise her
- Tell her your proud of her when she does something wrong/not good enough – proud of her for trying
Stop asking her questions;
- Don’t ask all those annoying questions;
- How are you, what you been doing, are you hungry
- Instead make comments;
- Look at the cat, hasn’t it been cold outside today, I’m cooking a big soup
- Don’t give too much opinion or judgement; that sounds nasty, that’s really interesting.
- Don’t try and fix or solve problems; let her find her own way.
- Children who stutter are perfectionists! They hold high standards for themselves, and this is reinforced by comments such as ‘pick your plate up, don’t wipe your mouth on your sleeve, don’t make a mess’.
- Lighten up, let her explore herself and her world without extra stress.
Keep it fun;
- Live life for fun, laugh, be silly, go wild.
Stop staring at the kid;
- Don’t stare at her when she is talking.
- Don’t overdo the looking in her eyes for encouragement.
Allow her to go on and on;
- Don’t curb talking even if it’s about something your not interested in,
- Even if it’s full of stammering,
- Even if she is complaining.
- Keep her talking;
- Notice when she wants to talk: and be present for this: don’t give loads of feedback but lots of active listening sounds ‘yup, uh ha’.
- Create more of the situations which you notice she starts to talk.
- Listen, really listen!
Don’t push for perfection, in anything!
- Focus on what’s truly important, happiness is truly important not fluent talking!
- Build self confidence.
For others in Harley’s life;
- Let Harley finish her own words and sentences.
- Give her opportunity to talk; don’t ask direct questions.
- Be patient.
- 3 positives things about her each evening – Harley to do hers, then I tell her my 3 things about her that day – being specific!