As an educator, you are an important influence on a child’s journey through their school years. You have a vital yet difficult job. The following are some examples of ideas from other educators that may be helpful when dealing with stuttering in your classroom on a daily basis. As always, your own knowledge of this child and your own experiences are your best guide in the decison-making process regarding the best course of action.
- During everyday classroom discussion, it’s important to allow increased response time and encourage everyone to contribute their ideas.
- Reading aloud is a situation which may increase anxiety if the child who stutters must wait for his or her turn in the “down the row” style of turn-taking. To minimize this, you may wish to consider using random styles of turn selection. During group interaction, try to monitor the amount of collaboration that is occurring and, when possible, pair the child who stutters with easy-going, patient partners who allow him to contribute equally.
- When it is time for answering questions, teachers can help by not rewarding quick call-out answers. Taking turns, modeling thinking time, and using random selection styles are helpful strategies in this type of situation.
- Classroom oral presentations may pose problems for children who stutter (as well as other children in your classroom). It is important to approach these presentations in a matter-of-fact way, and to develop a plan that supports the needs of the child who stutters. Flexibility may be necessary at times, but is important to provide opportunities for the child to be a successful contributor in the classroom.
- Questions from peers: How do I handle them? The best answers can only come from the child him/herself or from those who know the child best. Speak alone with the child who stutters and ask how he or she would like to handle these situations when they arise.
Check out our Answers for Educators brochure and other helpful free guides for educators on our Stuttering Resources page for more information, and to further assist classroom speaking, the NSA’s Back to School Survival Guide was designed to help your student decrease teasing and overcome the fear of speaking in class by learning more about and even educating peers on the disorder of stuttering. Children who stutter learn to advocate for themselves, with our help.