Encouraging participation

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Often, children who stammer can feel anxious or apprehensive about speaking in class or in one-to-one contexts with their teacher. Communication is about more than speech, and it is important that children are encouraged and have the opportunity to develop their communication and social skills. 

Here are some ways that you can encourage children to participate in conversation and take part in lessons. Remember - every child is different and, especially when children are older, it will be important to talk to them about what they find most helpful during moments of stammering. 

  • Use pauses and a slower speech rate yourself. This can be a helpful model to young children and helps to moderate the pace of the conversation. 
  • Avoid telling a young person with a stammer to slow down, relax or take a breath, as this can be frustrating.
  • Encourage pupils to take turns so they do not feel rushed and they know people will hear their message.
  • Try asking one simple question at a time.
  • Count to 10 before asking another question.
  • Think about the type of questions you are asking the child. Some young people with a stammer find it easier to give ‘Yes/No’ answers.
  • Keep questions and information simple, especially if the young person has other difficulties with language, such as learning new words, putting sentences together and/or understanding language they hear.

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