Marilyn Langevin, acting executive director and director of research at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research at the University of Alberta and creator of the Teasing and Bullying Unacceptable Behavior program, said it is taught province-wide to students in grades 3 to 6 to reduce teasing and bullying directed at children with differences.
In this study, Langevin and her team surveyed more than 600 students who participated in the program to evaluate its effectiveness at changing attitudes about stuttering.
Children who know someone who stutters -- a family member, friend or peer -- generally have more positive attitudes toward them, Langevin said.
However, it's a different story for those with little frame of reference with stuttering -- an unpredictable disorder characterized by repetitions or prolonged sounds -- can be accompanied by head jerks, nods and facial grimaces that take some people by surprise, she said.
"It's the children who don't know someone who stutters that generally have more negative attitudes toward kids who stutter," Langevin said in a statement. "We're very pleased to see this group had the highest change scores since they're the group we wanted to target."
The study is scheduled to be published in the July issue of Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools.