Notes to the teacher stuttering foundation a nonprofit organization helping those who stutter gas delivery

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All children in this age group are busily learning to talk. As such, they make speech mistakes. We call these "mistakes" disfluencies. Some children have more than others, and this is normal. There are certain children, however, who have many disfluencies–particularly repetition and prolongation of sounds. These are quite noticeable to listeners.

Also, talk to the parents about their opinion of the problem so that you know whether this is typical speech behavior for him. In most instances, if parents, teachers, and others listen to and answer the child in a patient, calm, and unemotional way, the child’s speech returns to normal as his language abilities and his adjustments to school improve. If the child continues to have disfluencies, however, you may want to ask a speech pathologist to observe him. The elementary school child

There are children in this age group who not only repeat and prolong sounds markedly, but also struggle and become tense and frustrated in their efforts to talk. They need help. Without it, their stuttering problem will probably adversely affect their classroom performance. As suggested with the preschool child, consult with a speech pathologist as well as with the parents and discuss your observations with them. If you, the parents, and the speech pathologist agree that this child’s disfluencies are different from other children in your classroom, you may decide as a team to evaluate the child for stuttering.

A major concern for most teachers is the child’s reactions to his stuttering in the classroom. How should the child be expected to participate in class? The answer to this question depends on the individual child. At one extreme is the child who may be quite unconcerned and happy to participate like any other child; at the other extreme the child who will cry and refuse to talk. Most are somewhere in between. If the child is being seen by a speech pathologist, find out her opinion about reasonable expectations. Also, ask the child how he would like to participate. Sometimes participation requirements become part of the child’s IEP. Talk with the child: show your support

Usually it is advisable for you to talk with the child privately. Explain to him that when talking–just like when learning other skills–we sometimes make mistakes. We bobble sounds or repeat or get tangled up on words. With practice we improve. Explain that you are his teachers and that his stuttering is okay with you.

Many children who stutter are able to handle oral reading tasks in the classroom satisfactorily, particularly if they are encouraged to practice at home. There will be some, however, who will stutter severely while reading aloud in class. The following suggestions may help these children.

Most children who stutter are fluent when reading in unison with someone else. Rather than not calling on the child who stutters, let him have his turn with one of the other children. Let the whole class read in pairs sometimes so that the child who stutters doesn’t feel "special." Gradually he may become more confident and be able to manage reading out loud on his own. Teasing

If you are unsure whether a speech pathologist is available in your school, talk with your building administrator. Also, suggest to the parents that they seek one out who specializes in stuttering and who has a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The Stuttering Foundation of America offers free referrals at www.stutteringhelp.org or call toll-free 1-800-992-9392.