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Suggestions for Teachers of Children With Speech Impediments

written by: Jack O. Rella • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 8/29/2012

A speech impediment can be a serious detriment to learning, and special education teachers need to have a solid game plan ready to accommodate children with this impairment. Advance preparation, achieving focus, and quality time all play a role in working with these students.

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    Advance Preparation

    The first step in special education teaching for children with speech impediments is gathering as much information as possible before the student starts classes. This can include meeting with parents as well as any therapists or other specialists who have been working with the child. The information gleaned from those meetings can provide invaluable help in preparing for a successful education campaign. Such preparation will lead to a better understanding for the special education teacher about the set of symptoms associated with the speech impediment, such as emotional issues or other learning disabilities.

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    Quality Time With the Student

    The nature of a speech impediment is one of social dysfunction. Affected children will usually be embarrassed to speak in class and may avoid participating altogether. How to teach special education students with a physical disability such as a speech impediment should include some allotted time alone with them. This is to create a bond and it will allow the child to get used to talking to the teacher directly, which will make them more comfortable in the class situation.

    This extra time can lead to special education teacher burnout unless the teacher schedules his or her daily routine around this special one-on-one period. Rearranging duties and using other time management adjustments will help both the teacher and the student.

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    Focus on Written Tasks

    Teaching special education students with speech impediments can include using more writing assignments than oral testing or recitation. This is not to ignore the problem but only to lessen the stigmatic effect that a speech impediment presents in social situations. Group participation in giving oral answers may need to be curtailed, but this should not be a detriment overall. Other students will likely become accustomed to a written approach to class activities and volunteer oral answering can still take place as part of the regular functioning in the classroom.

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    Assist With the Speech Impediment

    In cases where oral presentations become necessary, special education teaching should involve encouraging the student to practice at home before the presentation to the class. This can be done in front of a mirror, so that the child can watch himself or herself vocalize and then compare to normal speech patterns. This will go a long way toward making the child more secure in public speaking and will at the same time lessen the extra effort that special education teachers must make on their behalf during the day to avoid special education teacher burnout.

    Children with a physical disability such as a speech impediment can become active participants in their education without becoming skilled orators. A little planning, encouragement and focused teaching methods can help these children become successful learners.

    Source: author's experience