If a parent begins to notice stuttering occurring more frequently in their bilingual child, these are some basic steps that help to improve the problem.
In young children who are bilingual stuttering may be noticed when:
• The child begins to mix vocabulary from both languages in one sentence.
• The child is having difficulty finding the correct word to express his/her ideas which results in stuttering.
• The child is having difficulty using complex sentences in one or both languages when compared to other children of the same age.
• Adding a second or third language between the ages of three and five years of age may cause stuttering to increase (become more severe).
However, this may only occur when:
1. The child begins to have a hard time speaking first language.
2. One language is used more than the other.
If your child is learning more than one language and begins to stutter, it is important to do the following:
1. Help your child with new/difficult words by saying or giving meaning to the word when you know what they are trying to say.
2. When talking with your child, avoid using words from both languages in the same sentence.
3. Allow your child to use words from both languages when he/she is speaking.
4. When you notice your child having difficulty using words or creating sentences in the first language, it is important that you begin to use easy to understand language.