Below are some tips for how to show you are actively listening to a child during moments of stammering. The way in which a stammer presents will differ from one child to the next. However, it is important that a pupil who stammers feels listened to in the same way that any other child in the class would be.
Here are some ways that you can encourage the child to tell you what they want to say, even when they are experiencing moments of stammering:
- Maintain eye contact while the child is speaking to you. This helps them to know that you are listening and interested in what they have to say.
- Keep facing towards the young person with a stammer and show you are listening by smiling, nodding, saying “mhmm” and even saying directly “I’m still listening”.
- Do not finish the child’s sentences or guess words that they are stuck on.
- Comment on ‘what’ is said, not ‘how’ it is said.
- Let the young person finish their own sentences, even if you need to wait.
- Avoid correcting a young person’s stammer.