Even in the comfort of their home, stuttering can be a stressful and emotional experience for children when they struggle to get a message across. This can be even more stressful at school where there are peers and teachers, whom they may not be as comfortable speaking around. It is important not only to flag these concerns with the child’s parents but also to provide support within the classroom to ensure the child does not suffer bullying from peers.
Here are eight classroom strategies for supporting a child who stutters:
- Give the student time to complete what they are saying and allow them to finish speaking.
- Do not interject in the middle their sentences or fill in words or sentences for them.
- Facilitate turn taking to allow each child in the class to have a turn at speaking, as children, especially those who stutter, find it easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions and they have the listener’s attention.
- Let the child know they have your attention by maintaining eye contact.
- Let them know that you are listening to what they say and not how they say it by your manner and actions.
- Reduce speech pressure by modelling a 2-second wait time after the child speaks, just before you answer them.
- Insert more pauses at appropriate times in your speech so they know there is no rush.
- Set the same standards and expect the same quality and quantity of work with all students, including those that stutter.
Children who stutter are capable of doing the same work. You may just need to have a one-to-one conversation with the child about what accommodations they need in the classroom. It is important to respect the student’s needs, but not to the point of enabling.
Do not make stuttering something to be ashamed of. Talk to the child about stuttering just as you would any other topic so that it does not become something they are embarrassed or ashamed about.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.