At secondary school the curriculum makes many demands upon the pupils' language skills and they are expected to competently use complex language in both speech and writing. Any child benefits from encouragement to develop his language skills, as language is the basic tool for learning. However, this particularly helps a child who stammers as the better his language skills the more likely he is to manage his stammering.
We know that one of the reasons that girls tend to recover from stammering more than boys is that they usually have better developed language skills. At the very least, good language skills will help your child to be more confident about his abilities and raise his self-esteem. He will make more progress academically and socially if he has the confidence to express his ideas, even when stammering.
Talking is an essential building block in the learning of language and at secondary school pupils are often expected to discuss in groups new ideas and concepts as a preliminary to integrating them into their subject learning. It is possible that children who stammer, even if they are comfortable with their stammering speech, do not get the reinforcement of their language skills by talking to the same extent as the child who does not stammer. This is because the stammer may lead to the avoidance of talking so the child has less practice with learning new words and pronouncing them correctly. Sometimes struggling to speak may prevent the child from hearing and monitoring his own speech and remembering words as he talks. Therefore it is very helpful for a child who stammers if parents take steps to help their child to build up his language skills both generally and for specific subject vocabulary, such as science or modern languages for which the school will set homework learning tasks.
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'.
Text for this page: Why parents should build up their child's language skills
Text for this whole section: How to help your child's learning