Stuttering awareness and young children


I am a future speech language pathologist, andI work at a daycare type setting each day. I quickly noticed one of my kindergarten students was a person who stutters, I also quickly realized that some of the boys her age enjoy poking fun. What is your opinion or advise on speaking with children that young about stuttering? Would it be more beneficial to speak with the few children separately, or is a discussion I should have with the large group? I would love any advice, I don’t want to draw more attention to her disfluencies or embarrass, but it is a issue I want to address.

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Stuttering awareness and young children — 4 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I am a graduate student studying speech-language pathology and am currently enrolled in a stuttering course. I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation given by a speech-language pathologist who is also a PWS. During the presentation she explained that she would rather receive therapy from an SLP who is also a PWS than one who does not. My question is: as a speech-language pathologist who is not a PWS, how can you relate better to a client who stutters and make them feel confident in our abilities to provide effective treatment? Thanks!

  2. Seems that there are two questions here, and I’ll do my best to answer both. To the person who is working in the daycare, I am glad that you realize you need to be proactive at educating the children about stuttering to prevent the little girl from feeling bad about her speech. Some of my students have gone into first grade classrooms to talk to the children about stuttering and teasing, and these talks have proven very effective. In one of them, the students had the children pseudo stutter and one boy smiled and proudly said, “I talk that way sometimes, too!” It is important for children to know that stuttering is not anyone’s fault and that teasing someone about speech can hurt. Talking with the whole group has the advantage of helping all children be vigilant about teasing and bullying, plus of course, teaching them about stuttering. Since you are the one who knows the girl, you will know best whether this type of presentation could be upsetting to her. If you think it is, I encourage you to talk to the children who are making fun of her speech.

    For the second post, I would recommend Walt Manning’s article in the CICSD journal: Manning, W. (2004). “How can you understand? You don’t stutter!”
    Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, 31, 58-68. In that article he encourages readers to make a personal effort to get closer to stuttering by doing things like visiting a support group, entering an online community of people who stutter, etc. to learn more about the disorder from the people who have it. Additionally, learning how to relate to the client and help meet the clients needs is key in developing an effective therapeutic relationship.

    Hope these comments help.

    Kind regards,

  3. And of course the most expedient thing of all to do is give this child an efficacious early intervention to stop these problems from occurring. Early intervention is now known from RCTs to be an efficacious means to stop early stuttering.

  4. To add to answering the second question posted about a clinician who stutters vs. one who doesn’t, you may want to read the discussion between Donaher and Klein from the 2009 ISAD conference. Here’s the reference:

    Donaher, J. and Klein, J. (2009). Can a fluent stuttering therapist be as good as a stuttering therapist?