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Peer attitudes toward children who stutter

The TAB program was taught to the participants after they had completed the scale. This minimized the potential for inadvertently fostering a negative bias toward kids who stutter by the inclusion of negative items in the scale.

Results and discussion

Students who had contact with someone who stutters showed a significantly more positive attitude toward children who stutter than those who did not have such contact. No such significant effects were found for grade or gender. The study also reported evidence for the internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the data. The study found considerable consistency between the results of this study and earlier findings. The differences included a finding that gender and grade may not be as relevant as earlier findings suggested.

Results of this and two previous PATCS studies have consistently shown that contact with children who stutter leads to more positive attitudes toward them. This finding is also consistent with research indicating that adults who know someone who stutters tend to have a more positive attitude toward people who stutter than adults in the general population.

Contact with someone who stutters may thus be an important part of educational programs seeking to change attitudes toward children who stutter. The video included in the TAB resource may go some way toward achieving the desired effect of having contact with someone who stutters. The latter video shows children who are open about their stuttering, and who effectively, confidently, and assertively contribute their ideas.

Close to one-fifth of the students had mean scores that were somewhat to very negative with regard to attitudes about kids who stuttered. A large proportion of the student body has the potential to have a negative influence on the feelings and behaviours of their nonstuttering peers toward children who stutter.

Langevin concludes that future research into characteristics or experiences of peers with such negative attitudes may assist in further development of educational materials and strategies to positively influence the attitudes of such students.

As well, here’s another key interpretation of the findings. If you as an individual who stutters want to make a difference with regard to public attitudes, your best route is to become involved in public education activities about stuttering.

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