The Lidcombe Program is a behavioural treatment for young children who stutter. The program is administered by parents in the child’s everyday environment. Weekly visits to the Speech Pathologist provide strategies to administer the treatment, parent feedback, and monitor a child’s progress. The Lidcome Program is the best evidence based practice to reduce a stutter in children under the age of 6, and treatment has proven to be effective.
In essence the treatment is that parents give feedback about stuttering and stutter-free speech during conversations with their children.
Parents role: to develop positive behavioural support
- It is critical to the success of the treatment that parents are positive and supportive of the children, who must enjoy the treatment. As is the case with any treatment for a childhood speech and language disorder, it will not work if the child does not enjoy it and feel it is a positive experience. Most important of all in the Lidcombe Program, care is taken that parental feedback is not constant, intensive or invasive.
- Also, parents need to take care that the treatment occurs as a background to a child’s everyday life – it must fit in with, not be imposed on, daily childhood activities.
Speech Pathologists role: to support the parents in supporting their child
- The speech pathologist needs to ensure parents are presenting feedback safely and correctly. Therefore, at the start of the Lidcombe Program, when the parent is first learning to give feedback, it is done in carefully structured conversations only.
- This structured application of feedback facilitates the initial teaching of the parent by the clinician. Further, consistent with standard speech pathology practices, it enables the parent to ensure the task is organised flexibly so that the child’s responses are mostly correct.