Download the free brochure Special Education Law and Children Who Stutter

By Lisa A. Scott, Ph.D.
The Florida State University

Over the past several years, a growing number of states have begun eliminating or severely reducing services for children who need speech therapy causing great concern for children who stutter and their parents.                   

Although the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed by Congress in 2004 to ensure that children with disabilities receive appropriate services, this is not always the case for children who stutter.

For a child to receive services under IDEA, the speech therapist has to demonstrate that the disability has an adverse impact on that child’s education. Some states have chosen to define “educational impact” as only being when a child fails a grade.

However, just “passing from grade to grade” is not acceptable.

“We produced the DVD, Decoding IDEA Eligibility, in order to ensure that children who stutter do receive the services they need,” said Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation. “This video gives school therapists and parents tools to prove that a child’s progress is indeed hampered by stuttering.”

Examples would be the student who knows the answer but is afraid to raise his hand for fear of stuttering; the child who plays alone during recess because she stutters and fears being teased; the child who makes straight As in math but has trouble reading aloud because he stutters.

The better parents, teachers, and speech-language pathologists understand strategies for documenting how a child’s problem affects him or her throughout the school day, the more likely they will be able to successfully advocate for speech therapy.

-Updated Sept. 1, 2015