Have you ever shared tips to help teachers reinforce your lessons for a stuttering student, just to have them forgotten or ignored? As an in-school or online TinyEYE Speech-Language Pathologist, your role isn’t just to conduct direct therapy. There are many other responsibilities you face; one of these is communicating the needs of your students with parents and staff members. Create a circle of care around each of the children you serve by providing methods for them to effectively influence the results of each students’ outcomes. Have you ever wondered how you can communicate this in a simple manner that each students’ teachers can actually apply? Here are five great ideas:
1. When a child stutters in class
The most important thing a Teacher can do when a child is stuttering is to become a good and model communicator:
- Keep eye contact and give the child enough time to finish speaking. Give the student the satisfaction to say what they intended, rather than completing what you think they were going to say. Wait the child out, keeping eye contact so they know you are listening to what he is saying and not how they are saying it. Reduce speech pressure on the student by taking a few seconds before answering a child’s question and inserting more pauses into your conversation.
2. How to handle a “difficult speaking day”
Follow the child’s lead. Find out ahead of time what your student would like you to do on days when talking is getting more difficult. Children who stutter often vary in how they want their teachers and peers to respond when they are having an especially difficult time speaking. One child may prefer that his teacher treat him in the same way as the teacher would any other day. Another child may want his teacher to temporarily reduce the expectations for verbal participation. Calling on him only when a voluntary hand is raised or allowing him to take a pass during activities such as round-robin reading may help to alleviate additional pressure.
3. Making oral reports a positive experience
Consider and discuss different options, to find out what is best for your student. Some ideas:
- Order: Would your student be most comfortable presenting first, in the middle, or last?
- Practice Opportunities: If the child has had an opportunity to present to an empty classroom, it can relieve his anxiety on presentation day
- Audience Size: Sometimes it is necessary to allow the student to make a presentation before/after class with only the teacher present. If this is the case, slowly build up to making presentation with a friend present, small group, etc.
4. How to handle a stuttering child interrupting a peer
Teach the rules
Children who stutter sometimes interrupt others because it is easier to get their own speech going while others are talking, probably because less attention is called to the child at the beginning of his turn when stuttering is most likely to occur. Even so, it is important for the child who stutters to learn the rules for good communication just like all the other children in the class. Be clear in outlining these expectations.
5. Talking to the class about stuttering
Create classroom understanding
Offer suggestions about how to react when stuttering occurs. If the other children and classmates understand more about the problem, they are less likely to tease or ridicule the child who stutters. Be sure to explain the benefits of talking to the class about this ahead of time with the student and ensure that he is comfortable with you doing so.
Do you have any other tips that you can share with the parents and teachers in your school? Let us know in the comments!
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