What can parents do to help?

Give him the chance to talk about any worries he may have about his speech

As children get older they are more likely to be concerned about their speech. If you can tell that your child is worried about his speech take the opportunity to gently raise the subject with him. Let it go and try another time if he does not seem ready to talk about it yet. When you think that he is ready to talk about it give him the chance to tell you about his worries and listen as he explains, even if it seems to take some time.

Talking openly with him about his speech problems, at the pace that he sets, helps him to see stammering as something that he does now and again, which does not change him as a person in any way. It prevents a feeling of shame building up and the feeling that nobody can really help him. If he is interested you could show him the BSA information so that he understands that there is help and information available so that even if he continues to stammer, with support he can still achieve at school and get on well with people.

Show him that his stammer does not affect your feelings for him and that he is still seen as the same interesting and important person. Build up his confidence by praising all his achievements and share with him your own experiences of being worried about something as a child so he does not feel that you cannot understand. Encourage him to tell you if anything happens at school or at home that causes him to be upset about his speech, and plan with him ways that he can deal with this himself or have you take the initiative by approaching the person concerned to explain about stammering and its effects.

Contact your local speech and language therapy service

Parents should contact their local speech and language therapy service as soon as possible after they notice the stammering, even if the stammer appears to be quite mild and does not trouble the child in any way. Most services can be approached directly by parents without contacting a GP or health visitor. If parents agree the school may make the referral. The BSA can provide the contact details of your local NHS service, or of the web site for private therapist should you choose to enquire there.

Talk to your child's teacher

It is very important that every member of staff who works with your child has up-to-date information about stammering and knows the simple strategies that are helpful in supporting his speech from What primary school staff need to know to help your child. Staff should also be willing and able to work in partnership with your child's therapist who is likely to contact the school.

Remember that teachers are responsible for your child's teaching and learning and must respond to the individual needs of all children There is considerable support for your child in school from support for learning through the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.

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