STAMMERING: Seeking help early is best

I was moved by your compelling article about stammerer Alex Mullen (News Post Leader, July 23). I think it is great how the headline of this article, ‘Encouraging others to be stammer free’, almost gives stammerers a push to seek out speech therapy, whether it be through the McGuire Programme or many other reputable speech therapies that are available in the UK.

Kudos to Alex Mullen for sharing his personal story to help others.

One way to encourage that people be stammer-free is to encourage the parents of child who stammer to seek out speech therapy immediately. One point upon which all experts agree is that early intervention is a must. Parents should bring a child to a speech therapy upon the first signs of stuttering.

Four per cent of all children stammer at some point in development; 75 per cent of these kids stop stammering entirely. Early intervention with a speech therapist increases the odds that the child will be among the 75 per cent of stammering kids who stop stammering.

I routinely recommend to parents the free resources available on the website of the non-profit Stuttering Foundation (www.stutteringhelp.org) because there is so much on the site to guide parents. The downloadable books and brochures and the streaming videos are most helpful.

While your headline was targeted for adults and teens, the same strategy should be employed for encouraging parents to get their child in front of a speech therapist immediately when the stammering starts.

Mary Burke

Boston, Massachusetts