On Monday, I did an inservice at the Episcopal School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Char, a past client, is a teacher there. This was my second opportunity to speak about stuttering with the teachers at a preschool and I hope to do it much more.
During the inservice, my goal was, first and foremost, to help them understand that stuttering is not “just a phase” for every child. We discussed that the majority of children who stutter during the preschool ages may outgrow the stuttering, but that some won’t. We talked about factors that may put kids more at risk and how to best interact with a child when he/she is stuttering in their classroom. We talked about the difference between stuttering and stammering (there is no difference!).
Our conversation also included how and when to talk to parents about their child’s stuttering. As discussed by Chamonix in her recent post about Board-Recognized Specialists, very few speech language pathologists feel comfortable working with people who stutter. They corroborated that a private speech-language pathologist, who comes to their school to do speech and language screenings, had admitted that stuttering was not her area of expertise. So, I encouraged the teachers to refer to a specialist whenever possible.
Thanks to the teachers of the Episcopal School for offering a listening ear and engaging in the discussion about stuttering. It was my honor. If the efforts of this inservice lead to helping even one child, I’ll consider this another mission accomplished.