One way you can teach your friends about stuttering is to have your speech therapist or your classroom teacher help you make a presentation about stuttering. Lots of kids we know have used classroom presentations to teach others about stuttering, so we thought we would share a few tips from them on things you can do in your own presentation.
Tips for Classroom Presentations
First, only make a presentation if you want to and if you feel ready to do it. It's ok if you don't feel like you're ready for this yet. Some kids think it's easy because they want their friends to know about stuttering and they're not afraid to talk. Other kids might be afraid. Talk to your parents, speech therapist, and your teacher about whether doing a presentation is a good idea for you.
If you do decide to do a presentation, it's helpful to work with an adult (e.g., your speech therapist, teacher, or parents) to plan it. Are there specific topics you want to talk about with your friends, like facts about stuttering or how you want them to react when they hear you stutter? Who is going to do the talking during the presentation? Do you want to use your speech tools to help you during the presentation? Are there any fun activities, like a stuttering quiz, that you want to include?
Here is a sample outline of a classroom presentation that some kids have used. We hope you will change it to include the information YOU think is important for your friends to know.
Classroom Presentation Outline
- Introduce the people making the presentation (usually you and your speech teacher)!
2. Find out who else has gone to speech and why they did.
- There are lots of kinds of speech problems, like how to say certain sounds, having a hoarse voice etc., but today you are going to focus on a problem called stuttering.
- Let the class know that you want to teach them some interesting things about stuttering and to educate them, because we all know how important it is to be educated.
3. Tell them what stuttering is and why it happens.
- Give a brief definition.
- We like to ask the kids if they know what stuttering is and maybe tell them something like, Stuttering is a speech problem where some people's speech system doesn't work very well all the time. It doesn't seem to be as coordinated as it should. It gets tripped up or stuck on sounds. We're not sure what causes this but we think maybe some people are just born this way.
4. Ask if they know that famous people stutter.
- We like to ask the class if they know that many famous and successful people have stuttered and then briefly tell them about some of these people.
- If you want to show them pictures of the famous people, you can download and print out the Famous People page on this website.
5. Make sure they know that stuttering is no one's fault.
- It's very important to stress that no one is responsible for stuttering. People don't stutter because they are dumb or sick. Moms and Dads did not cause it and it's not a disease that you can catch.
6. Show them that there are lots of different ways to stutter.
- Demonstrate different kinds of stuttering.
- Ask the kids to try stuttering out for themselves. You can even give them a grade for their stuttering!
- Find out from your classmates how they would feel and act if they had to talk this way all of the time.
7. Show kids what you've learned to make speech easier.
- Demonstrate the speech management tools you've learned!
- Ask a few of the other kids in the class if they can do some of the speech tools. That way they can see that changing the way you talk can be tricky to learn!
8. Let them know that you won't always be successful - change is hard!
- Even when we do our best to use tools, sometimes talking is harder than usual. It's important for your teacher and class to know that you might continue to have some hard stuttering. Change will come, but it takes time and practice.
- Tell the other kids about times when talking is especially difficult for you. For example, some kids stutter more when they're tired or excited, or if they're afraid to talk or afraid of being teased.
9. Talk about why people make fun of others and how it affects us.
- Ask the class to share what they have been teased about. Almost everyone has been teased at least once.
- Tell anyone who is willing to share something they have been teased about that they are very brave.
- You can ask the other kids how teasing makes them feel and act.
- Think about making a class problem solving plan for ways you all can help if you hear a classmate being teased or bullied.
10. Share with your friends what you want them to do when you stutter.
- Let them know how to react to stuttering in a helpful manner.