- Lori Melnitsky
Empowering children who stutter to beat bullying..
How to combat bullying with children who stutter?
By Lori Melnitsky, MA CCC-SLP
Undoubtedly, many children face bullying at some part in their lives. Children who stutter might experience teasing due to speaking differently. This gives rise to a considerable challenge for parents, children, and speech-language pathologists.
Due to their speaking difficulties, a child who stutters might find it challenging to deal with teasing. That is why it is essential to help them cope with these challenges with the help of support and a qualified speech-language pathologist. Although one cannot eliminate teasing all at once, we can plan to empower the child who stutters with effective strategies. Here are some valuable strategies for combating bullying with kids who stutter.
Educating the Child
First of all, it would be best to start by educating the child about stuttering so that they can understand we all have differences. The child should know that stuttering is not their fault and should not be teased.
At the same time, enlightening the child about bullying is also crucial. This may help them understand that teasing is unacceptable and not their fault. Regardless, there are several ways to resolve this issue. For instance, you could help your child determine what to say and do when teased; as well as how to get help from family members or school personnel.
Reducing the Child’s Concerns
It has been observed that self- acceptance exercises and self advocacy assist children in dealing effectively with stuttering. So, one may significantly reduce their child’s concerns by recognizing this critical component.
One suggestion might be to educate other people about what stuttering is to help reduce confusion and teasing when they find someone getting stuck during their speech. For instance, organizing a classroom presentation on ‘Stuttering Awareness’ constitutes a productive and inclusive activity.
Using Parental Tools
Parents are ordinarily unsure about the most constructive ways to help their children combat bullying. However, a functional suggestion would be to help build their child’s confidence and self-esteem so that their child develops inner strength. A child with a strong character and belief in oneself will become stronger.
Expanding Bullying Management Plans
Utilizing the existing school-wide management plans for bullying can play a significant role in addressing the needs of those who stutter. Although most schools already have such plans in place, they are not exactly meant for children with communication difficulties. Nevertheless, school administrators and classroom teachers can learn to implement anti-teasing programs to support children who stutter.
The Bottom Line
Not all children who stutter are bullied, but it can be a parent’s worst nightmare when they are. Many parents wonder whether their child would be made fun of or bullied by troublesome friends. All these complications come rushing to the foreground once we realize that a child’s speech is the leading cause of bullying.
Nevertheless, some effective strategies and plans, as mentioned above, would indeed help you combat bullying with kids who stutter and make the community more inclusive for everyone.
For more information, please visit www.allislandspeech.com
Lori Melnitsky, MA CCC-SLP is a licensed speech pathologist, stuttering specialist, a person who happens to stutter and life coach.