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Stuttering Fluency Activities

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Getting students who stutter to practice fluency can be challenging. This lesson offers fluency activities to help children learn about their stuttering tendencies and practice reduction techniques.

Stuttering Fluency Activities

What causes a child to stutter? How can that child learn not to stutter?

The reality is that there are many reasons that a child stutters. The key to the reduction of stuttering lies in understanding the issue from each child's perspective and strategic practice with smooth speech.

This lesson offers activities that allow students to spend time self-reflecting upon their own stuttering behaviors and triggers. It also offers engaging, high-pressure and low-pressure speech practice sessions to help students reduce their stuttering tendencies.

Self-Reflection Activities

These activities are designed to give your students an opportunity to explore the reasons they stutter, identify triggers for stuttering and develop personal best-fit strategies for the reduction of their own stuttering. This level of self-exploration may be best for mature students, but the activities can be used for even the youngest students if adapted.

Mental Pictures

This is a self-evaluation exercise in which students examine their stuttering behaviors. Ask students to fill in a 3-column chart, listing the times that they have stuttered paired with the emotions they felt before and after each event.

Here is an example of how a student might fill in the chart:

Event Emotion Before Emotion After
At my birthday party when I sang 'Happy Birthday' with my friends Really Excited Embarrassed
When I had to give a speech in class Very Nervous Embarrassed

After filling out the chart, students will have a better picture of how their emotions impact their stuttering tendencies.

Self-Regulation Lists

Often, people that stutter find physical or mental cues to help reduce their level of stuttering. Sometimes the cue is touching a finger to the bottom jaw to bring awareness back in focus, or a mental trick they have taught themselves over time.

For this activity, ask students to write a list on an index card of all the tricks, tips or techniques they have used to help stop their own stuttering. They should score each item to show how effective the technique was for them.

If you can, pair students to discuss the techniques. Students may find new strategies or be able to share experiences that help each other.

'Knowledge is Power!' Reports

Encourage students to write an age-appropriate report on why stuttering happens and what techniques can be used to help reduce the issue. In this way, students begin to understand the problem academically, which may help remove some of the mental blocks to their own stuttering-reduction efforts.

Practice Activities

These activities are designed to give students practice with smooth speaking and can be used with all ages. Some of these are high-pressure activities, which are sometimes required to bring out stuttering tendencies.

Play by Play

Divide students into pairs. Each pair should write a short play that works for two people; set a length limit. After some practice time, the pairs should present their plays to the class. Encourage them to include facilitating strategies when needed.

Improvisations

Divide students into pairs. Give each pair a random, thematic scene to act out in front of the class.

This high-pressure activity is similar to the playwriting session. However, it does not allow for practice time, which gets students focusing on stutter-reduction strategies in a high-pressure context. Be aware of any student who may get too overwhelmed by the activity. It should still be fun and engaging while encouraging active practice with stutter-reducing techniques.

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