Are there any modifications I should consider making to help a student who stammers?

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Some pupils who stammer can benefit from modifications to academic tasks such as answering questions in class, group work and oral presentations.

As every child’s stammer presents differently, it is a good idea to have a direct discussion with the pupil to find out from them what helps most in different situations. Equally, if the student works with a Speech and Language Therapist, it can be helpful to arrange a time to speak with them and/or the Inclusion Team Manager at your school.

Here are some of the ways you could consider modifying common classroom activities to support pupils who stammer:

  • When assessing reading fluency or oral presentations it can be helpful to allow pupils:
    • Extra time to practice 1:1 or in small groups first
    • To pre-record verbal activities in a more familiar or comfortable environment 
    • To use paired reading with a peer or reading aloud to a younger pupil/sibling.
    • To complete the task with a member of staff from the inclusion team who may be able to help them use their recommended speech and language strategies more effectively

  • When asking questions in class:
    • Consider the order that pupils are answering – does the child with a stammer prefer to go first, middle, last?
    • Are there non-verbal ways to answer, such as a multiple choice tick sheet or whiteboard for answers?
    • Can the child know and prepare an answer in advance?
    • Aim to simplify your questions so that your language is at the same level that the child is able to understand

  • Generally, a calm environment with clear routine can support children with a stammer. You can help to facilitate this by:
    • Ensuring all pupils take turns to answer calmly and give each other enough time to speak.
    • Emphasising good turn taking skills in speaking and non-speaking roles.

  • When children are working in groups, you might consider:
    • Size of the group, who is included in the group, how the group are collecting and reporting their findings
    • Assignment of group roles, such as note-taker, timekeeper, feedback spokesperson, asking set questions to keep the group focused and flowing, designer, resource manager


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