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Teachers: Are Your Kids Stuttering?

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2008-07-21 05:30:19     
Stuttering Foundation

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 http://www.stutteringhelp.org and http://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, http://www.stutteringhelp.org.

Specialized in: Stuttering Treatment - Tests Diagnosis - Medical Authorities - Symptoms Causes - Health Professionals - Alternative Medicine - Stammering Speech Fluency - Stuttering Foundation Of America
URL: http://www.stutteringhelp.org
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