Parents as Partners in Young Children's Stuttering Treatment

Re: teachers using techniques

From: Anne Bothe
Date: 10/17/00
Time: 7:08:09 PM
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Oh, Gina, neat question -- and a very complicated one. My answer is "It depends." Strictly as a scientist and a researcher, I would say yes, because the child getting the same sort of feedback in multiple settings throughout his real life might reasonably be hypothesized to learn more quickly and to have fewer problems with generalization (because training occurred in multiple settings to start with!) and therefore fewer problems with maintenance. The complications, though -- wow..... This is why it depends. If you have a confident, secure, happy child who will not be overly embarrassed by any comments about anything that set him apart (I'm remembering a little girl who was close to tears when the aide told her she had a nice new winter coat -- she could not handle being singled out for anything!); if you have parents who want the preschool to get involved; if you have a preschool teacher that you KNOW, absolutely KNOW, can be trusted to praise nonstuttered speech accurately and correct stuttered speech accurately, and to do both in appropriate ways that the child will perceive as helpful and supportive; and if you can gather data as this is happening to show that the feedback in the preschool setting is, in fact, having the desired effect on speech and having no undesired effects on the child's social activities, for example, then sure. I can certainly see situations where all of those conditions would be met, and then I think having preschool teachers/aides and parents all doing the same thing would be wonderful. But I would also be very cautious about assuming that all of those variables will be in place. A really nice compromise might be that those parents who want to could tell preschool teachers that they are going to speech therapy, and explain what they (the parents) are doing at home, and encourage the teachers to praise the child occasionally when his speech sounds particularly good in any one-on-one interactions that they have -- I'm a big fan of praise, from whatever source, and here you'd only have to make sure that the preschool teacher knows how to praise children appropriately, which is most likely a safe assumption, given that the vast majority of preschool teachers are great people who know a lot about children and who treat children very well.

Neat question. Try it and let us know how it goes!

(p.s. -- preschool teachers consistently correcting all stutters strikes me as a bad idea, same as parents consistently correcting all stutters all day strikes me as a bad idea -- I'm assuming you're asking about the same sorts of "for a few minutes each day" kinds of procedures that we're asking parents to do)

Last changed: September 12, 2005