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Matthew's view

The realisation that GCSE is coming up next year makes Matthew think seriously about his work. He maturely recognises that his behaviour has previously been silly at times, as he tried to distract attention from his stammer, like many teenagers do, particularly boys.

Ironically, when there is a lack of mainstream school speech and language therapy support for secondary pupils in many areas, Matthew has only reluctantly come to recognise that having a meeting with him, his parents, the therapist and the teacher could be helpful. This reluctance to involve a therapist, or even to attend therapy at all, is quite common among adolescents who may prefer to avoid thinking about their stammer and cope by adopting avoidance behaviours. The helpful influence of his therapist, and her advice to stop avoidance behaviour, is now recognised by Matthew.

The clip shows a range of characteristic stammering behaviours that teachers may meet, although all young people are different in the way that stammering does affect them. What is important is that Matthew has the confidence to communicate his views and has a clear sense of his own value and potential for achievement. The challenge for all subject tutors for the pupil who stammers is to maintain and develop self-esteem: the confidence to communicate, and a willingness to work hard and achieve to potential. It is only too easy to undermine those qualities by a thoughtless remark or reaction from staff or pupils.

Summary

  • Stammering is unpredictable in form and frequency for each person. Teenagers are most likely to be self conscious and worried about it.
  • Self-esteem must be maintained and participation in oral work supported by all subject staff.

Matthew's doing well at school and does not want to let his stammer hold him back