About the Lidcombe Program

The Lidcombe Programme is a treatment for early stuttering that children enjoy and which is extremely useful.
Early intervention is essential for three reasons. The first is that it is known that children under 6 years old who stutter can receive social penalties from other children in the form of teasing and bullying. Second, if stuttering persists into the school years it starts to become difficult to treat. Third, if stuttering is not treated early it can cause problems later in life.
The treatment is implemented by parents during a period of close consultation with the clinician. Research and Clinical trials have shown The Lidcombe Programme to reduce stuttering quickly to very low levels, in the long and short term, when stuttering begins in the first few years of life.

The Lidcombe Program is a behavioural treatment for children who stutter who are younger than 6 years. It may be suitable for some older children.

The treatment is administered by a parent or carer in the child’s everyday environment. Parents learn how to do the treatment during weekly visits to the speech-language pathologist. During these visits, the speech-language pathologist teaches the parent by demonstrating various features of the treatment, observing the parent do the treatment, and giving parents feedback about how they are going with the treatment. This parent training is essential, because it is the speech-language pathologist’s responsibility to ensure that the treatment is done appropriately and is a positive experience for the child and the family.

The treatment is direct. This means that it involves the parent commenting directly about the child’s speech. This parent feedback needs to be generally positive. The parent comments primarily when the child speaks without stuttering and only occasionally when the child stutters. The parent does not comment on the child’s speech all the time, but chooses specific times during the day during which to give the child feedback.

As well as learning how to give feedback effectively, the parent also learns to measure the child’s stuttering each day with a scale from 0 to 9, where 0 is no stuttering, 1 is extremely mild stuttering, and 9 is extremely severe stuttering. At each clinic visit, the speech-language pathologist and the parent discuss at these severity ratings for the previous week to see what effect the treatment is having outside the clinic. This is an essential process to ensure that the treatment works properly.