Here at SAY, we believe that all children who stutter deserve to have a supportive community around them, where they will always have a voice. We also know that school can be a particularly difficult place for children who stutter. They may deal with bullying and discrimination from their classmates, or even from teachers and other adults who work there!
A lot of people—students, but also teachers or speech therapists—may be misinformed about stuttering. Because of this, the most important way to build community is to educate others about stuttering.
You (or your child) should bring up stuttering with teachers and others who work with your child at school. Send an email, have a conversation over the phone, or invite them to see a SAY performance. By educating others about stuttering, you can help school staff to better understand what your child is going through, and how they can help.
• People who stutter just need a little extra time to speak. You don’t need to finish their words or help them when they are stuttering – you just need to listen.
• Stuttering is nobody’s fault. Stuttering comes from a difference in how the brain processes speech, and it is just part of the way that some people talk.
• Stuttering is variable. Stuttering changes over time, and may be different from day to day (or hour to hour). This can be confusing to some listeners (and frustrating for many people who stutter) but remember: it’s nobody’s fault.
You can talk to your child to learn more about what they want others to know about themselves or their stutter, to include more facts about stuttering, or to share some of the specific struggles or fears that your child may have about talking.
Finding teachers and others who are willing to listen and learn about stuttering is the first step to fostering a community of support at school. Other than teachers, you can look to build community by speaking with speech therapists, social workers, guidance counselors, or coaches. Especially if your child has other learning needs or mental health challenges, getting help from any of these other individuals can make a big difference.
Sometimes you may want a more formal plan of support for your child at school. In the next sections, we will talk about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), 504 Plans, and other ideas for supporting the child who stutters at school.
Click here to read about: Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
Click here to read about: 504 Plans
Click here to read about: Other ideas for supporting the child who stutters at school