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Answers for Teachers

I have a child in my class who stutters, what should I do?

As a person who is spending a significant amount of time with the children, as you are aware, you do have a certain amount of responsibility to ensure that all your students are educated in an environment that is supportive in all aspects to give every child the best opportunity to be able to grow up to be a well rounded and functioning individual. Having said that a child who stutters does not have to be treated greatly different to any other child although many adults who stutter have some stories about their school years that are expressed in such a way that there is still and element of trauma in the experience.

Teachers of 2 - 5 years old toddlers

If you are a teacher of young toddlers aged between 2 - 4 years old you may find that some of your students will demonstrate stuttering behaviour as around 5% of children can show stuttering behaviour while learning to put words into meaningful sentences while communicating with others. If the stuttered speech is frequent, getting worse and/or showing signs  of struggle behaviour it is strongly advised that you speak to the parents to advise them of what you are seeing and confirm that they are also aware. Most children who show stuttering behaviour at this age will tend to grow out of it but some will not without help. It is important that children of this age me monitored closely to see if the problem is getting worse as this age is the best and most effective age for treatment with a high level of success rate to be achieved with the assistance an appropriately qualified speech pathologist. Stuttering can be a difficult problem to resolve as the child moves on in years and if not successfully addressed before the ago of 6 the task becomes more difficult. Successful recovery for the child is a process that involves some effort from those adults around the child particularly parents and teachers. Please also see our page on Toddler Advice.

Teachers of 5 to 12 year old children

It is likely that the parents of a child of this age are aware that they child has a speech problem although it is well worth talking to the parent about the issue to ensure that they are seeking the appropriate treatment for the child. The parent may not be aware that the child is stuttering in the classroom situation.

Ideally the parent, speech pathologist and teacher should be working together on a strategy to assist the child to speak fluently whenever possible.

It is most likely that you will see one of your students stuttering when they are called on to either, answer questions in class, read out aloud in class, make a presentation in front of the class. These can be stressful situations for all of us but the stress for us as adults in these situations often starts in out classroom experiences. If the child is struggling in such situations, it important that you do not allow the class to laugh at such behaviour.

You should be aware, as a teacher, that stuttering behaviour does not always show up in the most obvious manner. It can also be the reason that a child may not want to speak in class or a child may not give the correct answer to a question that you know he/she knows the answer to. Quite often a child who stutters would rather not speak or would rather say that they do not know the answer to a question if giving the correct answer is likely to involve them is stuttering behaviour.

If you suspect or see that a child is stuttering ensure that other teachers and the child's parents are fully aware of the situation, seek professional help from a speech pathologist skilled in the area of stuttering and try to make the experience of speaking in the classroom as enjoyable and stress free for the child, and other children for that matter, as pleasant at possible.

Please also see our page on Children Advice


Teachers of 12 - 18 year old adolescents

If a child has reached high school or his secondary education years and is still stuttering he/she is likely to be becoming very self conscious about their problem.

His stuttering is likely to be more pronounced in situations that are stressful to us all. Such situations are speaking to an authority figure (teacher), speaking, reading or presenting in a classroom situation etc.

Much of what has been written above for younger children will still apply in this older age category so your response to the youth's stuttering and the environment that you create in the classroom for the stuttering youth will have a great influence on how the youth's dysfluent speech progresses. This is not to say that you, as his/her teacher, can have an influence on the severity to which the stuttering develops but it is worth mentioning that many adults often give descriptions of school experiences in terms of trauma when it comes to recalling being asked to speak or perform orally in the classroom situation.

Like many other children who have what could be described as "noticeable differences" to other children, many children who stutter can be the subject of bullying. Teachers should be aware of this possibility and be quick to react to bully in any form wherever possible so that its well documented effect on children can be minimised as much as possible.

If you have any questions you would like answered or have any suggestions of what should be covered in this section, please email

Here is a short video for school teachers that I am sure you will find useful.

For more books, see our book page.

Redifining Stuttering: What The Struggle To Speak Is Really All About

Redifining Stuttering - Harrison