Heading back to school is an exciting time, but it can also be a time of anxiety for children who stutter. Teachers play an essential role in assisting students who stutter in the classroom. Here is a list of helpful tips for teachers of those who stutter:

Model Good Communication

Students tend to follow their teacher’s example. Lead them by maintaining eye contact with your students when speaking to them and do not finish their sentences for them. Use a controlled rate of speech when speaking or reading to the class. Do not ask students to “slow down” or “think about what you are going to say before you say it.” 

Model Wait Time

Wait a few seconds before answering a student’s question, and encourage students to do the same. It can be a very brief pause, about two seconds, but it will reduce time pressure and allow for easier speech.

No Interruptions

Discourage interruptions in your classroom by making it a rule to take turns when speaking. 

Handle Teasing

Keep an eye out for teasing that may be targeted at a student who stutters. Talk to the classroom about how teasing makes others feel, as well as lessons on accepting each other’s differences. 

Make Accommodations

Give the student who stutters ample time to practice a presentation before conducting it in front of the class. Try to call on the student when they raise their hand, as this is voluntary communication. Successful attempts at communication will boost their confidence.

Offer Support

Let students who stutter know that they can come to you for support or to talk about anything that is worrying them. Provide words of encouragement and support them in private when they are having a hard day speaking.

Equal Expectations

Do not treat students who stutter differently than those who do not. Set equal expectations for everyone. Allowing children who stutter not to participate in oral tasks encourages avoidance behavior. However, it is okay to help prepare them for certain tasks. 

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