Dear Abby Letters: Talking Openly About Stuttering

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Re: Great activity!

From: Peter Reitzes
Date: 16 Oct 2006
Time: 21:02:48 -0500
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Elizabeth, thanks for your kind words! I have worked a lot with classmates and siblings of my students who stutter. I have definitely used Dear Abby in my school with classmates. What I have done is bring in classmates (my students’ friends) who have already been guests in speech class. This way, the speech class guests have some background in stuttering and speech class etiquette. The friends (who do not stutter) are asked to write their own Dear Abby letter about a problem they have faced. Having speech class guests usually is not problematic if you ask your students to choose their speech class guests carefully and if you make speech class a fun and respectful place. Sometimes friends may act inappropriately in ways such as laughing uncomfortably at stuttering, but the interesting thing is that if a student is laughing about stuttering in speech class, than they are most certainly doing so out of speech class. Such situations give you, the speech teacher, the opportunity to teach respect in a fun and supportive environment. Speech class is a great place to “convert” friends and classmates into stuttering-tolerant peers who will even “stick up” for their stuttering friend in the future.

Last changed: 10/23/06