If you have a child who stutters, this blog post is for you. Not everyone, teachers included, know how to best support children who stutter and it is our job as parents, therapists, and friends to help educate teachers about stuttering. The following letter is intended to be shared with your child’s teacher if they experience stuttering in any capacity. Feel free to copy, edit, and individualize as needed. I hope you find this helpful!
To my teacher,
Hi! My name is ______, and I am going to be in your class this year. I am just like
all the other students in your class, except I stutter. I want to tell you about what that
means and how you can make me feel more comfortable in class this year.
Stuttering is a neurological disorder that affects my ability to speak smoothly and
get my words out. It can be genetic, but researchers still don’t know exactly why it
happens. Stuttering is not caused by being scared or nervous, but sometimes when I
stutter, I do feel that way. Also, not everyone who stutters sounds exactly the same.
Sometimes, people who stutter repeat sounds, words or phrases over and over again;
this is called a repetition. Sometimes, their speech gets stuck in their throat or mouth
and it can be hard to push the words out; this is called a block. And some people draw out their sounds much longer than they mean to; this is called a prolongation. There are also people who experience a combination of the three, and every day is different. Some days are better than others.
When I talk, sometimes I repeat sounds/my words get stuck/my sounds get
stretched out, BUT I always know what I want to say, and I do not need your help to
finish my thoughts. When I am feeling brave enough to talk in class, I need you to be
kind and patient with me. Please do not tell me to “slow down” or “take a deep breath”. Please do not try to guess what I am saying, or respond to me before I am finished. This can send the message that my words do not matter, and I know that they do.
I go to speech therapy to learn smooth speech strategies that help me get my
words out more fluently. Talking to my speech therapist would be helpful so you know what I am working on and how you can support me and my speech in the classroom.
Thank you for listening and learning about my stutter. If you have any questions
you can ask me, my parents, or my speech therapist. I am excited to be in your class
Here are a few quotes about stuttering:
Enjoy this quote from “I Talk Like a River” By Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith:
“It feels good to be quiet and alone with my dad. But I can’t stop thinking about my bad speech day: All those eyes watching my lips twist and twirl, all those mouths giggling and laughing. I feel a storm in my belly; my eyes fill with rain.
My dad sees I am sad and pulls me close; he points to the river and says:
‘See how that water moves? That’s how you speak.’
I look at the water bubbling, churning, whirling, and crashing. I talk like a river...
When the words around me are hard to say, I think of the proud river, bubbling,
churning, whirling and crashing. And I also think of the calm river beyond the rapids
where the water is smooth and glistening.
This is how my mouth moves. This is how I speak. Even the river stutters. Like I do.
I wake up in the morning with the sounds of words all around me. I go to school and tell the class about my favorite place in the world. I talk about the river. And I talk like a river.”