The Lidcombe Program
If you read our blog post last week about children who stutter, you may be wondering how it can be treated!
What is the Lidcombe Program?
There are several effective and evidence-based treatments for preschool children out there. The most common therapy program, and the one with the strongest current evidence, is called the Lidcombe Program. It was developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and its aim is to eliminate, or at least reduce, your child's stuttering.
Who delivers the therapy?
The Lidcombe Program is a parent training program. A speech pathologist trains parents of children who stutter to deliver effective stuttering therapy. Parents are the best people to deliver this therapy! Why? You are with your children for much more time than a speech pathologist is. This means you can deliver therapy in a natural setting, at a time that suits your child and more frequently than your speech therapy visits. This will help your child transfer their smooth speaking skills to everyday situations, not just when they visit the clinic!
What does the Lidcombe Program look like?
The Lidcombe Program works by using "verbal contingencies" to help reduce your child's stuttering. Verbal contingencies are different types of feedback you say when your child is speaking smoothly, and when they stutter.
Check out the verbal contingencies and some examples below:
You might start doing these verbal contingencies one at a time, so you are able to focus on doing it correctly while still engaging and having fun with your child. Importantly, you will work with your speech pathologist to determine when and how to introduce the next verbal contingency as this depends on how your child’s stuttering is progressing. We want therapy to be effective, but also fun! It's important to give more positive feedback about your child's smooth speech, than about their stuttered speech, so that they continue to enjoy therapy and work hard.
How long will it take?
A great question! It can be hard to say. It can depend on how severe your child's stutter is, how well the Lidcombe Program works for them, and how much practice you can do at home.
Why does it work?
The short answer is, we don't know. What we have seen is that your child's brain is so amazingly complex and clever that it responds to your feedback. Based on the feedback your child's brain receives, it makes changes to how your child speaks. We don't know much more at this point, but more research is always being done to find out the answers to these important questions.
Any other questions? Please reach out to us! We are always available for a chat about your child's stuttering, or any other concern you have with their speech, language, and literacy.
Charlotte Lemon, CPSP
Paediatric Speech Pathologist