Teachers

What pupils want you to know

Watch this 12-minute video called “Wait Wait I’m not finished”

Hear children and young people at the Michael Palin Centre talking about what they want teachers and education staff to know.

 

Produced by the Michael Palin Centre

What were the key messages from “Wait Wait?”

  • we are more than just our stammer
  • there is no link between stammering and intelligence
  • certain situations make us stammer more (like being put on the spot or being under pressure)
  • you can help us by giving us time and letting us finish our sentences
  • don’t try to give us advice about our speech
  • ask us about our stammering so you can understand it
  • some of us get bullied and feel isolated

    Download Top Tips to read more.

There are lots of ways to make your classroom stammer-friendly

Read more about how to help a child at primary school or a child at secondary school.

Download our Suggestions Sheets for advice about specific classroom situations that are often difficult for young people who stammer.

What children have to say

We are much more than just our stammer

“I don’t think that the stammer is my main feature or characteristic, I’m just a normal 18-year-old.”

“Someone who’s got a stammer should be treated like everyone else.”

There is no link between stammering and intelligence

“People usually judge you by your first appearance and if the first thing you do is talk funny people do sometimes think that you’re not as bright.”

Certain situations make us stammer more. Many of us find being put on the spot or under pressure the hardest.

“It isn’t always easy if I’m put on the spot.”

“… and it would make me feel more uncomfortable and then that would normally lead to me stammering more.”

Give us time to think and speak

“A good teacher doesn’t interrupt what I’m saying. They give me time to speak.”

“After I’ve been asked a question if I was given the time to start thinking about the answer and my speech as well it would be very helpful because I could think of some techniques for my speech.”

Let us finish our sentences in our own time

“People in general will try and finish your sentences for you. They probably think that it helps, but the majority of people who stammer would rather know that they can finish their own sentences.”

Tell us we're doing okay and calm us down if needed, but don't advise us about our speech

“I don’t really like being told to slow down.”

“People tell me to hurry up, but I get annoyed because I speed up and then I stammer more, so then it takes even more time to get the words out.”

We want you to understand that we stammer and how it makes us feel

“Teachers should ask me questions about how I feel about having a stammer.”

Some of us get bullied and feel isolated

“There were these two friends of mine, and then they weren’t my friends because they walked off and said that I couldn’t talk because I’ve got a stammer.”

Family support is important too

“Supportive families are really helpful ‘coz they just help you to release all of the pressure and tension that builds up if you start to stammer a lot.”

We should be referred to a speech & language therapist (with parental consent).”

“Everyone who stammers should come to speech therapy… it teaches you new techniques to cope with it and how to actually live with it.”

Teachers
THE MICHAEL PALIN CENTER HELPLINE

Sometimes you just need someone to talk to

HELPLINE

Sometimes you just need someone to talk to

Our Helpline, 020 3316 8100, is open during office hours (9am-5pm) and voicemail messages can be left when the office is closed.

“It helped me to realise that I’m not alone and that there is help out there.”

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