Teachers: Are Your Kids Stuttering?

Jul 21, 2008, 01:00 ET from Stuttering Foundation

    MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's the first day
 of school and one of your pupils stutters. If you're the teacher, what
 should you do?
     Kids aren't the only ones who are apprehensive on the first day of
 school. Teachers are too. If a student stutters, should you call on him in
 class, or will that make it worse? Do you talk with him about his
 stuttering, or ignore it hoping it goes away? Does it help to tell the
 student to relax or slow down?
     A new tip sheet, 8 Tips for Teachers, published by the Stuttering
 Foundation, helps educators work with students who stutter. If you're a
 parent of a student who stutters, give the teacher a copy before the first
 day of school.
     "Young children are busily learning to talk," explains Lisa Scott,
 Ph.D., of The Florida State University and author of the tip sheet. "As
 such, they may have effortless repetitions and prolongations of sounds. In
 most instances, 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 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 is consistent. 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 answers to questions about stuttering and a free copy of 8 Tips for
 Teachers, contact the Stuttering Foundation at 800-992-9392 or visit
 www.stutteringhelp.org and www.tartamudez.org.
     8 Tips for Teachers
     The Stuttering Foundation offers these suggestions:
     1. Don't tell the child to "slow down" or "just relax."
     2. The Stuttering Foundation recommends that teachers don't complete
 words for the child or talk for him or her.
     3. Help all members of the class learn to take turns talking and
 listening. All children -- and especially those who stutter -- find it much
 easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the
 listener's attention.
     4. Expect the same quality and quantity of work from the student who
 stutters as the one who doesn't.
     5. Speak with the student in an unhurried way, pausing frequently.
     6. Convey that you are listening to the content of the message, not how
 it is said.
     7. Have a one-on-one conversation with the student who stutters about
 needed accommodations in the classroom. Respect the student's needs, but do
 not be enabling.
     8. Don't make stuttering something to be ashamed of. Talk about
 stuttering just like any other matter.
     Source: Stuttering Foundation, www.stutteringhelp.org.

SOURCE Stuttering Foundation