How Teachers Can Help a Student Who Stammers
For someone who suffers with a speech impediment such as a stammer, they often find it difficult to get their words out how they want. They find it hard to converse and can lead to them having a lack of confidence. It’s been reported that approximately 5% of children will experience some sort of stutter or stammer while growing up, some worse than others. Here are some tips for teachers and how to help a student who stammers.
What is a stammer?
“What’s your name?” “How are you?” “What’s your favourite subject?” They all seem like simple questions for a teacher to ask. However, for some students, direct questions like this are their worst nightmare.
A stammer is a relatively common speech problem in childhood. It’s been described as having a thought stuck in your brain that can’t come out! Which is why people who suffer from a stammer tend to repeat sounds and syllables, make sounds and words longer than they need to be or struggle with getting words altogether. Some children may even be bullied for their speech difficulties, so it’s essential that you know how to tackle both verbal and cyber bullying.
The most common type of stammer is referred to as ‘developmental stammering’. This is something that occurs in childhood when they’re developing their speech and language skills.
How to Help a Student Who Stammers
A classroom environment often provides a certain amount of pressure, which can make students hesitant. Building a student’s confidence is important in these sort of situations. Here are 8 ways you can help a student who stammers:
Don’t tell the child to stop or slow down
Offer complete reassurance
Be patient and allow the child time to think and speak
Don’t look away from them
Don’t try and finish their sentence
Speak to them privately and don’t put them on the spot
Talk about stuttering with the rest of the class
Don’t expect anything less of them
Speech and Language Therapy
For a student who suffers badly with a stammer, liaising with a qualified speech and language therapist is recommended. They will support the pupil and assist them with communication skills. If you’re just kickstarting your career in teaching and believe that you have a student who needs help, you can speak to their parents or guardians and discuss whether or not they should be referred.