National Stuttering Association

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Two middle-school-aged girls hugging and smiling warmly at the camera, both wearing casual t-shirts with visible event tags in an indoor setting with a blurred background.

Transitioning to middle school can be a daunting time for ‘tweens who stutter and their parents. During the middle school years ‘tweens begin to rely less on their parents and look to establish their independence. Everyday school stress from classwork to socializing can be awkward enough, and can be made even more stressful and awkward if you’re a ‘tween who stutters.

At a recent NSA® Conference workshop for ‘tweens and their parents, middle-school students who stutter talked about wanting to “own” how they choose to share their stuttering – if at all – with others. These ‘tweens also expressed a strong desire to have their parents support their choices, even if they might not agree. At the end of the day, the ‘tweens reasoned that it’s the child who stutters, and as parents, the adults need to be comfortable with their child’s choices.

From the parent perspective, your fears and concerns most often will not be the same as those of your children. When your ‘tween hits bumps in the road, they will likely move on from them far more quickly than parents do. Just because they decide to handle things a certain way at the start of the school year doesn’t mean they will not change their mind and approach things differently as the year progresses.

One of the middle-school students on the panel made the choice not to talk to their teachers or classmates about their stuttering at the start of the school year, however within a couple of months had decided that being open about it would make things easier for the student, teacher(s), and their peers.

The lesson is that there are no right or wrong answers. Your child is growing up and discovering themself. They need to find a way to approach the school year in middle school in a way that best suits them. And remember, there is nothing that is done that can’t be undone.

– Adapted from a previous article written by Stephanie Coppen with the assistance of Joan Duffield, Katie Duffield, Pattie Wood, Danny Wood, Helene Haus, and Julie North

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