About 5% of children begin to stutter, usually at age 3-4. The current thinking is that early intervention in the preschool years is both necessary and effective. Stuttering left untreated may begin to interfere with social interactions and can lead to development of further concerns on the part of the child.
Although many children may recover without treatment in the preschool years, simple treatments can be effective in treating stuttering that persists for periods longer than 6 months. The team of researchers and clinicians at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre (ASRC) have tested a behavioral treatment called the Lidcombe Program, that was developed specifically for stuttering in preschool children to see whether its effects were significantly and clinicially greater than no treatment. Fifty-four children aged 3-6 took part in this study, with 29 receiving treatment and 25 receiving no treatment. The severity of stuttering was similar for both groups. After nine months, the group of children who did not receive therapy reduced their stuttering by an average of 43%; however, the treated group had reduced their stuttering by 77%. The Lidcombe Program was shown to be a clinically effective treatment for stuttering and an excellent choice for stuttering treatment in preschool children.
The Montreal Fluency Centre has collaborated with the ASRC since 1996 to become a major treatment centre for the Lidcombe Program in North America. Speech Language Pathologists at the Centre have provided the Lidcombe Program to over 300 children from 3-10 years with the same good results reported by the ASRC. The treatment is efficient, usually taking between 12-24 weeks to complete Stage 1. The MFC has a ‘no wait list’ policy for early stuttering and families are seen within 2-3 weeks of initial call. Additionally, as a founding member of the Lidcombe Program Trainers Consortium, clinicians at the MFC have participated in the training of over 3000 Speech Language Pathologists in this method in workshops across Canada and the USA.
In addition to the Lidcombe Program, evidence-based clinical treatment is provided for school age children and teens. This treatment includes individual therapy provided both in the clinic and through telepractice. All therapy is based on those treatments who have evidence to support their effectiveness. Call the Centre at 514.489.4320 for more information.