Bullying with Stuttering

What do you tell a school aged child who is being bullied or teased about his/her stuttering how to handle the situation?

What do you tell parents of a stuttering child who have to deal with judgmental people/family about what to say that ‘s appropriate and helpful in a hurtful situation.

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Bullying with Stuttering — 1 Comment

  1. Hi-

    Great question! Bullying is definitely a very important topic to discuss in therapy – especially nowadays as it seems like there are so many more and different ways that bullying is occurring.

    There are some really great children’s books out there that deal with bullying. I often start by reading one of those books and then having a discussion with my client about it. If bullying has occurred, our clients may feel initially hesitant to talk about their experiences, and so talking about someone else’s experiences may create some space. Often we talk about why people may bully. We also talk about teasing and bullying – and the differences that may exist between the two. We then often work to come up with a list of things that we can do if bullying occurs. For many of our clients, they may not encounter bullying; however, knowing what to do if it happens may help them to feel more comfortable and confident overall.

    After creating our list of options, we often visualize a specific situation in which bullying has occurred and talk through what we might do if it happened again. Or, we role play the situation. Usually the client loves to be the bully – and I will play the role of the client.

    We also talk about how our friends, family members, and peers may not understand stuttering or know what to do that is helpful. They may be trying to help – but they may not be going about it in a way that is helpful. This is different than bullying; however, it can still be painful and upsetting. In situations like this, it may be helpful to talk to your client about what stuttering is and is not – so that they are able to advocate for themselves and teach others about stuttering. Maybe you work together to come up with a handout to give family, friends, and teachers. The handout may have fun facts about your clients, some facts about stuttering, things that you client wants others to do when they stutter, and things they do not want others to do when they stutter. Creating something like this can also help foster open communication about stuttering with those in your client’s circle.

    Hope this helps!
    ~Jaime Michise

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