The support staff contribute to the experiences of children throughout the day, as pupils frequently talk to classroom assistants, the school secretary and the caretaker for example. All these contacts should help to develop the child's self-concept and build confidence and self-esteem. It is therefore important that these staff receive some basic training in communicating with children, whose needs may be diverse.
Children who stammer may appear naughty and rude if they avoid a response by failing to talk, or evading speaking by coughing or pretending they have not heard. Their struggles to speak may be difficult to cope with if the adult is uncertain about the condition, and some children have been upset by a careless remark. When good practice has been established in the classroom, it is a pity if the child meets with a negative reaction outside it, so that confidence in speaking is undermined, and other children observing the conversation may be influenced into mimicry and teasing.
All support staff should be alert to the possibility of a stammer or other speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) when the child does not answer in the manner expected. Simple support strategies should be used.
Our colleagues in the school office on the video clip values the opportunity to work with the teachers to support the child. Coincidentally, her son stammers, and she advocates telling staff about the condition generally, and also passing on some specific information about him. The dissemination of confidential information is a decision for the school and the parent, after some discussion with the child, if he is aware of his stammering. As long as informed consent is given, the individual child will feel more supported if he knows that all the adults he sees daily understand his speech needs.