Why parents should build up their child's language skills
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.
Creating a rich language environment in the home to extend language skills
Parents can best help their child to extend his language skills by providing a diet of varied language at home that goes beyond the everyday and functional.
Building confidence at school
Parents should find ways of lowering the demands on their child in school so that he does not feel anxious and stressed all the time.
Encourage your child to respond positively to school rules and the needs of his schoolwork right from the beginning of secondary school. If he does that he will find that staff will appreciate his co-operative attitude. It will be easier to build up good relationship with them and they will be more likely to take on board information about stammering. He will feel more confident about his abilities and more likely to contribute in class and achieve. His school environment will be less stressful for him and this could lower the demands on him and make him less anxious, so that he is more able to manage his speech.
Issues of openness
You should always encourage your child to be open about his stammer and its effects and if he is receiving therapy he will get considerable help with this. However, the BSA knows from parents that this openness does not always continue and that young people can become quite reluctant to talk about their stammering and its effects as they progress at secondary school.
Contact a speech and language therapist
It is important that a speech and language therapist, who ideally specialises in stammering, is contacted for advice by you or the school, and that your child is happy about this. The problem is that as he is developing all the sensitivities of adolescence he may not be prepared to consider going to see a therapist and you would have to respect his choice there. If you have previously been in contact with a therapist, you may find that she is able to give you some general advice that could be useful while you wait to see if he will change his mind.
You may need to take some time to gently explore his feelings about his speech and help him to understand that therapy could help. If he is unwilling to have a referral then you have to respect his decision and ensure that he always feels that he can raise the issue again with you, his form tutor or other appropriate colleague, when he is ready. The BSA can supply contact details of your local service and most services will accept a referral directly from parents, as well as from schools.
Information for teenagers from the BSA is available to provide him with some strategies that may help.
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Text for this whole section: How to help your child's learning