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Tips to Help Teachers Work Effectively With Students Who Stutter

Posted by Lisa LaGrou October 17, 2011 Education

altPhilip Garber Jr. probably couldn’t have imagined the press he has received. Garber, a 10th grader from New Jersey who recently enrolled in courses at his local county college, has a stuttering impairment which makes it extremely difficult for him to speak. Garber’s stuttering impairment gained national attention last week when his professor, Ms. Snyder, sent Garber an e-mail requesting that he hold questions he would normally pose questions during class to after class “so we do not infringe on the students’ time.” The situation caused a firestorm from advocates of stutterers as to how the situation was handled.

Stuttering in a classroom setting can create uneasiness for students and teachers. Regardless of the intentions or tone of Snyder’s e-mail to Garber, it is clear that many teachers could use some tips on how to appropriately deal with kids who stutter.

The non-profit Stuttering Foundation group has provided OCM with 8 tips on how teachers and educators can work effectively with students that stutter. Not only are these tips helpful for teachers, they can also serve as a reminder for parents to speak to educators about how to help their son or daughter. The Stuttering Foundation has provided content for us in the past. Recently, they helped us in an article about Summer Tips for Children Who Stutter.

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The 8 tips to help teachers work with stutterers are:

  1. Don’t tell the student “slow down” or “ just relax.”
  2. Don’t complete words for the student or talk for him or her.
  3. Help all members of the class learn to take turns talking and listening. All students — and especially those who stutter — find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the listener’s attention.
  4. Expect the same quality and quantity of work from the student who stutters as the one who doesn’t.
  5. Speak with the student in an unhurried way, pausing frequently.
  6. Convey that you are listening to the content of the message, not how it is said.
  7. Have a one-on-one conversation with the student who stutters about needed accommodations in the classroom. Respect the student’s needs, but do not be enabling.
  8. Don’t make stuttering something to be ashamed of. Talk about stuttering just like any other matter.

About The Stuttering Foundation
Malcolm Fraser, a successful businessman and stutterer, went on to establish and endow the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation in 1947. The Stuttering Foundation provides a toll-free helpline, 800-992-9392, and free online resources on its Website including services, referrals and support to people who stutter and their families, as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering. Please visit us at stutteringhelp.org.

Other Sources: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/hand-raised-high-a-stutterer/
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/nyregion/professor-of-philip-garber-nj-stutterer-defends-actions.html?_r=2&src=recg

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