How the Equality Act can help your child who stammers

The Equality Act (EQA)

This does now apply to education providers. If a stammer is having a substantive effect on the child's ability to carry out normal tasks, of which communication is one, then it would apply to a child who stammers who was not communicating at the same level as other children of his age who did not stammer. In the primary school this could include communicating his needs, speaking and listening activities in the class, performing in group or individual presentations.

Use the EQA to build your child's self-esteem

Children who stammer are most likely to be helped by the EQA when there is a suggestion that they are being excluded from school activities as a result of their stammering. If a parent considered that this was actually happening or was planned, then it is important to mention this to the class teacher. In many instances the BSA has found that a decision to exclude a child who stammers from an activity has not been thought through by staff. Often it is a well-intentioned, although misguided, attempt to protect the child from feeling anxious or getting embarrassed as staff would see it. However, to exclude a child in this way is discriminatory and a parent should politely make the point that if the task is adapted in some way the child could take part, as the EQA requires.

For example, if there was a Christmas performance planned and staff decided that your child could not take part, because he stammered too severely, this would be a definite example of discrimination against him as he could take part if they were to offer a more flexible approach. They could make an adaptation to allow him to participate with the other children, such as allowing him to take a role in the presentation where he spoke at the same time as at least one other child.

We know that children usually do not stammer when speaking at the same time as another person, so the experience of taking part in the performance could be managed to provide your child with a positive speaking experience in the same activity as the other children. This would be very helpful for your child's self-esteem.

Bring the requirements of the EQA to the attention of the staff if you think that it will help your child. If staff do not respond helpfully after you have discussed this with them then you can complain.

Further information

Stammering Law - This is a specialist web site on the law as it affects people who stammer.

When you have to make a formal complaint in this resource.

Click on the following links to open a PDF, use the back button on your browser to return to this resource. To save the handout to your computer, right click and choose 'Save as'.

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Text for this whole section: How to get support for learning for your primary school child who stammers