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Tests

When the information has to be presented orally immediately, the child who stammers under this pressure may be unable to answer in time, thus losing marks Sometimes extra time may be all that is needed and the teacher should plan for this as an adaptation to the process.

If a child finds it difficult to give any kind of a spoken answer then alternative strategies should be offered.  Children who stammer often relax when they know that an alternative strategy is available and may just prefer to speak and stammer. The teacher in the video clip explains to the whole class how other strategies may be used and this will be reassuring for all pupils but particularly any pupil with a speech, language and communication need.

If the teacher does not understand what has been said in a test situation because the stammering was very severe, s/he should check the child's answer with him.  If the teacher has understood it wrongly, the child should then be given the option of another strategy of replying, such as writing it down.

Occasionally the child who stammers may have developed a higher level of anxiety when faced with any stressful situations even if they do not involve oral work and as a result be unable to react and think at the level appropriate to his ability. This is a cause for concern if the child is likely to be taking formal tests, SATs, eleven plus, school entrance tests etc. Regrettably there is no panacea for resolving such anxieties and teachers need to be sensitive to their existence and work with the child to alleviate them.

The therapist if one is involved should be able to offer some guidance and parents need to be involved in any discussion.

Summary

  • Allow the use of alternative strategies, eg, pointing, writing, drawing, etc.
  • If necessary allow extra time for verbal responses.
  • Consider whether the child is distracted from the learning task by anxiety and is achieving below his potential.