Activities for School-Age Students Who Stutter
Therapy with young children who stutter often involves parents and family, but it is also important for the family to be involved in talking about stuttering with school-age children! There are many ways to talk about stuttering, and it will be different for every child. It's so important to have open and honest discussions with your child about stuttering. Don't let the fact that your child stutters be the elephant in the room. Talking to your child or their speech therapist about what they work on in speech can give you an idea of what your child is comfortable discussing!
Research famous people who stutter.
- Ed Sheeran
- Shaquille O’Neal
- George Springer
- Joe Biden
- James Earl Jones
Find famous people who are of interest to your child! There are many other actors, musicians, and athletes who stutter.
Talk about how speech is produced.
For young students, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) often talk about this as the “speech machine,” which includes the child's brain, lungs, voice box, teeth, lips, tongue, and ears, while older children may learn more advanced terminology, including the diaphragm and the vocal folds. Helping students become familiar with terminology related to speech and stuttering often makes them more comfortable discussing their speech.
Write a letter and submit it to the Stuttering Foundation’s newsletter. They will print every letter they receive in their newsletter!
Read books about people who stutter.
Children have different thoughts and feelings related to stuttering, so not every book will be helpful for every child; however, books can be a good place to start a discussion!
- Paperboy by Vince Vawter
- Gabriela by Teresa E. Harris
- Hooray for Aidan by Karen Hollett
Create a presentation to teach friends and classmates about stuttering.
Some students may not be comfortable with this, but for others, it is a good opportunity to talk openly about stuttering with their peers. This is also an opportunity for the students to explain what is or is not helpful for them. For example, maybe they do not want others to finish their sentences, or they appreciate it when friends ask about stuttering. If a student does not want to present in front of others, other options could include making a video of themselves, creating and passing out handouts, or writing a note to their teacher at the start of the school year. These presentations or handouts can be as long or short as they want and can cover anything about what stuttering is, quick facts about stuttering, or famous people who stutter!
This is a good activity to do with a speech therapist, or you can create the presentation with your family and then practice presenting it in speech therapy before talking to the class!
-Rosemary O'Brien, M.S., CF-SLP