Paradoxically, in a genuine attempt to help children who stutter to integrate within a fluent world, speech-language pathologists, and teachers can potentially cause irreversible harm. For example, to avoid the concern that the child may potentially experience, or be misperceived as experiencing embarrassment or discomfort when stuttering in front of others, children who stutter are commonly provided accommodations wherein they are “protected” from having to contribute to class discussions, give presentations, and/or asked direct questions.
When adults who stutter reflect on the years of being pulled from the classroom in which they are “protected from speaking” to complete therapy in which they are being taught strategies to facilitate speaking without stuttering, they share how both the classroom and the therapeutic environment, becomes a source of shame, frustration, fear and anger. Many report suffering from lower levels of self-esteem, limited self-efficacy, and overall poorer quality of life, as well as reduced engagement and attainment in academic and vocational environments. But, there is hope, as targeting behaviors related to communication, advocacy, resiliency, and education has been shown to provide immediate academic and social benefits to children who stutter, and long-term psychosocial and vocational gains in adulthood.