This information will help you to consider the particular needs of your child who stammers, based upon what the BSA has been told by parents and professionals.
The government has made a big commitment to improving Early Years education and expects all providers to make sure that 'Every Child Matters' so that children should be helped to:
- be healthy
- stay safe
- enjoy and achieve
- make a positive contribution
- achieve economic well being
When you first make contact with a likely provider arrange an appointment to visit personally. Most settings will be nurseries but when the setting is the home of a childminder you still need to consider all these factors.
Health and Hygiene
Check that the environment is clean and interesting for a young child, and provides a range of toys and safe activities, particularly outdoors. As there is some evidence that some children who stammer have difficulties with motor co-ordination, outdoor play from an early age can help to develop these skills.
The diet provided for your child should reflect your views, and be flexible about particular dietary needs.
This is: for under-twos, three children per carer; for two-year-olds, four children per carer and older children, eight children per carer. When a teacher, Early Years professional or a person with another suitable level 6 qualification is present, and interacting directly with children aged over three, the staffing ratio of one adult to 13 children can apply
Ask the provider about:
Training and attitude of the key adults.
Staff experience of stammering
It would be particularly helpful if there were another child who stammered in the setting. If there is, and you don't know the parents, ask if they can be contacted by the setting to enquire if they would be happy to chat with you about their experiences.
Choose a setting with key adults who are fully qualified. We know that when there is a graduate in nursery education in a setting, you are more likely to find good quality provision. Fortunately, there is more good training for all Early Years practitioners than there was, so you should be able to find a setting with qualified staff.
Check that staff have received some training on speech, language and communication needs. There is a considerable amount of training available now, so, if staff have no awareness of this, they may be less interested in understanding your child's needs. You must feel confident that your provider will be interested in your child's speech development, and notice if he is stammering, so that an early referral to a speech and language therapist can be arranged.
If your child is stammering when he starts pre-school, and sees a speech and language therapist, you need to know that your pre-school will follow any advice provided by the therapist and use any resources you provide, such as those from the BSA-Leaflets and from this resource Information about stammering for staff.
Ask about strategies for working one to one with a child, as your child may need this support occasionally, and effective staff planning is needed to provide it.
Take note of how the adults present talk to each other, as your child will observe this. Any adult conversations that he hears that causes him anxiety or feels threatening in any way could have the effect of undermining his own confidence in talking.
Notice whether the other children seem to respond to staff and each other and seem happy as they work and play.
It is important that you feel confident that staff are approachable and empathetic. They must have the skill to respond quickly to any changes in your child’s behaviour that could indicate he is worrying about his stammer and be able to talk with him about it, should he be sending out signals that he needs to do so.
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Text for this page: Is a setting for me when my child stammers?
Text for this whole section: Choosing your pre-school provider