While many children naturally recover from stuttering, we are unable to predict who these children will be. It is therefore recommended that children who stutter receive treatment as early as possible. There are two broad types of treatment for stuttering that have been proven effective in clinical trials: The Lidcombe Program and Smooth Speech Treatment.11
The Lidcombe Program is a behavioural treatment program for children under the age of 6 years. The Lidcombe Program is supported by the strongest level of evidence and has been shown to have positive long-term outcomes.12, 13 The Lidcombe Program is a speech pathology-based program, where a parent and child attend a clinic once a week. At these appointments, the speech pathologist shows parents how to perform the Lidcombe treatment at home. The child’s progress and progression through the program is monitored each week. The Lidcombe Program can also be effectively delivered via telehealth.14
Smooth Speech Treatment is an evidence-based treatment most commonly utilised by the Australian Speech Pathology profession.11, 15 This treatment is used for older children, adolescents and adults. It aims to restructure the way an individual speaks to avoid the stuttering. Smooth Speech treatment can be administered weekly on a one-to-one basis or through intensive groups. The group option is more common and can take place across the course of one week, with weekly follow-up appointments.
The McGuire Programme is a more controversial approach used to treat both adolescents and adults who stutter.16 This program is administered, instructed and coached by people who have either made a substantial recovery from their stuttering, or are in the process of recovering. The McGuire Program uses a breathing technique as the basis of its speech re-training. It also provides training in areas of assertiveness, voice projection and speech making.