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Poster-Making Activity

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Vol. 16 •Issue 23 • Page 15
Poster-Making Activity

Helps to demystify stuttering

Many children who stutter do not know other people who stutter. They grow up feeling isolated and alone.1-2 Providing them with information and facts about disfluency helps to demystify and normalize stuttering.2-6

One way to educate students and enable them to share their stuttering openly with peers and teachers is to engage them in making a poster featuring famous people who stutter.2 The poster can include photographs and short biographies of the celebrities, alongside photos of the students who stutter and their own biographies.

This poster-making activity requires three or more therapy sessions. You will need a copy of the poster titled "16 Famous People Who Stutter" from the Stuttering Foundation. The poster is available as a brochure or downloaded free from the foundation Web site (www.stutteringhelp.org). Seeing this empowering poster, featuring people such as James Earl Jones and Winston Churchill, often is the first time these children become aware of the many famous and successful people who stutter.

Consider asking students to invite a friend to attend speech class for the duration of this project. Introduce the activity by showing students the "16 Famous People Who Stutter" poster. Explain that there are many famous people who stutter, such as golfer Tiger Woods, basketball players Kenyon Martin and Bob Love, and broadcast journalist John Stossel.

Instruct the students to bring in photos of themselves, and ask them to write a one-paragraph essay describing their talents and skills. (Check with the school to determine if a special permission form is needed to display student photographs.)

Each student chooses a famous person to research. If students have Internet access at school, help them conduct online searches about the person. Otherwise, put together a small library of articles about famous people who stutter and allow students to choose from these articles.

A good online resource is the Famous People Who Stutter page on the Stuttering Homepage (www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/famous/famouspws.html). Students can print out articles and a photograph of their subject from their online searchers and then compose a one-paragraph essay about their subject.

A fifth-grader wrote the following essay: "Kenyon Martin is a great basketball player on the Denver Nuggets. He is so good that he was national player of the year in college, a first-round NBA draft pick, and was voted onto the NBA's All Star team in 2004. He averages about 15 points a game. Kenyon Martin stutters like me. Kenyon Martin once said, 'When I was in school, I'd rather take the bad grade than get up in front of class and talk.' He used to be scared of talking to reporters. But now, Kenyon Marin talks to reporters about his stuttering to help people like me!"

The next step is to work with students to write one-paragraph essays about themselves. One student brought in a picture of himself playing baseball and wrote, "My name is Juan Suarez* and I am in the fourth grade and am almost 11 years old. I am a talented baseball player, and I am also good at football, soccer, video games and math. My baseball team is the Brooklyn Sharks, and I play first base and pitcher. I also stutter and am learning that many famous people stutter such as Tiger Woods, Bill Walton and James Earl Jones."

A friend of Juan's who does not stutter attended speech class to participate in the project. He began his essay by saying, "I am a really good baseball player and a friend of a person who stutters."

Students should attach photos of their subject and themselves to a piece of poster board and copy the biographies next to the corresponding photos. The poster may include work from students, friends, the clinician and others. If this activity is done with just one student, the clinician and student can complete biographies on several famous people who stutter.

You can shorten the amount of time this activity requires by interviewing the students and writing short biographies about them. Other options are to invite an adult who stutters from a local self-help chapter to speak to your students about stuttering and their talents or to invite students who stutter and their clinicians from area schools to join your speech class for the project.

The posters can be placed in the cafeteria or main office or on a bulletin board. This encourages peers and school staff to talk with your students about stuttering. n

*Name has been changed.

References

1.Fraser, J. (2003). Effective Counseling in Stuttering Therapy, Pub. No. 0018. Memphis, TN: Stuttering Foundation of America.

2.Reitzes, P. (2006). 50 Great Activities for Children Who Stutter. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

3.Dell, C.W. (1993). Treating school-age stutterers. In R.F. Curlee (ed.), Stuttering and Related Disorders of Fluency. New York: Thieme.

4.Dell, C.W. (2000). Treating the School Age Stutterer (2nd ed.), Pub. No. 0014. Memphis, TN: Stuttering Foundation of America.

5.Murphy, B. (1999). A preliminary look at shame, guilt and stuttering. In N.B. Ratner & E.C. Healey (eds.), Stuttering Research and Practice. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

6.Ramig, P.R., Bennett, E.M (1997). Clinical management of children. In R.F. Curlee & G.M. Siegel (eds.), Nature and Treatment of Stuttering (2nd ed.) Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Peter Reitzes is co-editor of the Journal of Stuttering Therapy, Advocacy and Research (www.JournalOfStuttering.com).




     

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