As a teacher of primary aged children, there were times when I had a student who stuttered in my classroom. I was always determined to give whatever help with stuttering that I could so they would find school a positive experience. Here are a few of the things I did as well as some suggestions that you as a parent can do.
One of the first things I would have had to arrange to have a meeting with this child's parents to talk about the speech disorder. The meeting completed two things.
First, it gave me insight into the problem from his parents, the two people who know him best, along with a better understanding of their child. Second, I feel the meeting was also helpful for the parents because I was able to let them know that I was going to be supportive of their child and that I really wanted to help.
If your child's teacher does not suggest a meeting it does not mean they do not care. Lots of teachers like to get to know individual students before getting in touch with parents. But when the problem is different it's probably best not to wait. Instead, call to request a face to face meeting with the teacher.
Pass along whatever information you have. You are sharing a partnership and you'll want to know strategies that work as well as those that are not effective. You can not get a better source for this information than parents.
For example, you might be surprised to find out that a lot of youngger kids who stutter still enjoy participating in their classes by answering questions and taking part in discussions. And they are not embarrassed about their stuttering.
Teachers do not like to center out a stutterer so will avoid calling on them. If your son or daughter feels comfortable taking part, be sure to let her teacher know.
It was fortunately that my school district hires speech and language personnel. They are there to work with students who are referred by the teaching staff. Unfortunately this service is not available in all districts. So be sure that you get in touch with your school to see if there are speech services offered. If there are, inquire as to how to get a referral going.
Because I always made it a point to schedule a meeting with parents early in the school year, I could start a referral quickly if the youngster was not already involved in a speech program outside of the school. If the child was in a speech program in the community, I got permission from the parents to request recommendations and reports from the outside agency.
One thing to be aware of is that community based services are quite often discontinued when a child enters school, if the school district offers the same service. Services at the school level are not always automatic, so you may need to request that your child continues to receive help.
Once your child starts to work with the speech pathologist or therapist, there will be certain drills or activities that you can use at home. This will reinforce what the speech personnel is focusing on in their sessions.
For instance, the therapist may be working with your child on a different way to breathe. This type of thing requires a lot of practice before it becomes automatic. That's where you come in. It's vitally important for you to work on these follow-up activities with your child because sessions at school will be limited.
If your child stutters, know that there is help with stuttering available at the school level. The best case scenario is when teachers and parents work together as a team to give the child encouragement and support.