By The Stuttering Foundation, Special for USDR
Back-to-School season is upon us. For some, there is great excitement and anticipation for the new school year. But for others, there is great anxiety—especially for children who stutter and their parents.
When teachers hear a child begin to stutter, the immediate reaction is one of concern mixed with a host of urgent questions.
Should a teacher tell the child who stutters to “slow down and relax?” Should they complete their words? Should they expect the same quality and quantity of work from this student?
“Young children are busily learning to talk,” explains Lisa Scott, Ph.D. of The Florida State University. “As such, they may make speech ‘mistakes,’ such as effortless repetitions and prolonging of sounds. In most instances,” she adds, “this is very normal. If parents and teachers listen to and answer these young children in a patient, calm, unemotional way, the child’s speech will probably return to normal.”
“Some children, however, will go beyond the normal and begin to repeat and prolong sounds markedly,” explains Dr. Scott. “They may begin to struggle, tense up, and become frustrated in their efforts to talk. These children need help.”
“Any time teachers are concerned about a child’s fluency,” notes Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation, “they should consult with the school speech clinician as well as the parents to make sure their approach to the child’s speech is consistent.” She advises teachers, “Talk with the child privately and reassure him or her of your support; let them know that you are aware of their stuttering and that you accept it – and them.”
For a free copy of 8 Tips for Teachers and more answers to questions about stuttering, call toll-free 800-992-9392 or download it at www.stutteringhelp.org.
SOURCE The Stuttering Foundation