Staff
& Professionals

How to help children who Stammer

 

Stammering can be very frustrating and embarrassing. The Speech and Language Therapist can assess, treat, and/or advise the client, family and carers, but these are things that you can do to help someone who stammers.

 

What to do 


Slow your own speech down slightly. Children may find it easier to speak clearly if they speak slowly. However asking them to slow down is likely to make them feel stressed or more hurried. The best way to react is to slow the pace of the conversation naturally by slowing your own speech.

Maintain good eye contact. This lets the child knows you that you are listening and are interested.

Listen to what is said, not how the child says it. This will help to increase confidence and reduce the pressure on the child when he/she talks.

Use simple language that is easy for the child to understand to reduce the overall difficulty of the conversation.

Give opportunities for fluent speech. Activities such as singing or reciting familiar rhymes may be easier. Speaking aloud may be easier if the child is allowed to speak in unison with someone else.

Set aside one to one time to provide the opportunity for a shy child to approach you regarding work that they might find difficult. With older children this might also give the opportunity for a sensitive discussion of their difficulties. If they are aware that it is ok to stammer this can often reduce anxiety and actually make speech more fluent.

Comment on emotions that may be making a situation more stressful, e.g. ‘I can see that you are upset’. Avoid highlighting specific errors in speech.

 


What to avoid 


Asking the child to slow down, take a deep breath or start again.

Finishing his/her sentences or try to guess the word.

Drawing attention to the child’s problems or allow anyone to laugh at them.

Interrupting. This makes people feel rushed.

Asking too many questions. When you need to ask questions, try to give alternatives e.g. ‘Did it happen at home or at school?’

Keep a child waiting too long for their turn to speak in class, this can allow their anxiety to build up. Don’t ask the child to repeat something they have already said.

 

 

If you are concerned about a child in your class, you can refer him/her to the Speech and Language Therapy service, with the parents permission.

  • There is further information on the STAMMA website (British Stammering Association) https://stamma.org/

 

 

Stammering groups

If there is a child in your class who is currently known to the Speech and Language Therapy service or has been known to the service within the last 12 months, they and their Parents/ Carers could be invited to our Stammering Groups for school age children. Our Stammering Groups are typically held during school holidays.

 

To find out more information about our Stammering Groups and whether attending a group would be appropriate for your pupil, please contact

Judith Patel- Speech and Language Therapist on 0161 206 2697

Local Initiatives

Early Years Initiatives

Our Early years team are currently working together with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, this includes a rollout of language screening of children using Wellcomm tool.

School Age Initiatives

We currently offer a range of virtual training sessions to schools for free! SENCo's will have been informed of training dates that you can book your staff on to. Please contact Fiona Taylor (fiona.taylor@nca.nhs.uk) or your Link SLT if you have any questions about this. 

 

 Enhanced Services initiatives

The Enhanced Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service offer bought-in input in schools. This might involve universal input, individual or group interventions. The Enhanced Team also support schools and staff to develop communication friendly environments and deliver training. For further information, please contact Fiona Taylor – fiona.taylor@nca.nhs.uk

 

I would also like to say that I am very impressed with the work Speech and Language Therapist is doing in school as well as the professional way she deals with my parents and her helpful advise to my staff. I believe credit where credit is due.

School staff

Lorna is amazing to work with and has made such an impact on our school provision, we are lucky to have her!

School SENCo

My child absolutely LOVES coming to see you, you are so good with him. We are extremely grateful for all of your care and support. He is counting down the days until we can come again.

Parent

We loved our sessions with Lucie, we found her to be positive and encouraging, we have already seen a huge improvement in his communication, using words and attempting new words to communicate with us in everyday tasks and his confidence in learning new words has shot up, he’s attempting 2 word phrases pretty well and even attempted 3 words on a couple of occasions. The difference for us is huge and we feel Lucie has set us up to keep improving now that the sessions are over.

Parent

I just wanted to send a quick email to say thank you for the training you delivered for us this afternoon, it was so useful and informative. It was great to have further training that was bespoke to Early Years and built on what we had done in the whole school training. We're excited to start implementing it for our children.

Early Years Teacher

I have just attended the virtual open evening and I thought it was a really nice way to explain the role and introduce the team as opposed to reading it on a job ad. I felt very lucky to have seen many of the benefits Fiona spoke about too so thank you for providing me with the opportunity to sit in on the training sessions.

Speech and Language Therapy Student

I am new to the role and I have found all members of the team extremely helpful and have gone out of their way to support me.

School SENCo

This is great and I am so appreciative of your support. We have nothing but fantastic things to say about the Salford SALT team and the support that you have given to both of our children.

Parent