The Reading Room
Pg 5 - The Sunshine Express
laughter, happy times, and how very much they
Thanksgiving is on the horizon. Have been think-
Leaving rose buds
ing on it, planning the menu, table decorations
find solutions for the children in their class," says
searching for answers. -Karen
and considering the guest list. I discover my focus
Lisa Scott, Ph.D., of The Florida State University
(Karen Schafer lives in and writes from Gateway)
requires some defining.
Straight Talk for Teachers
Thanksgiving, a day of blessing, celebration, of
At school, children who stutter often face bully-
remembrance and gratefulness.
When teachers hear a child stutter, the immedi-
ing and teasing. This treatment by other students
In light of this I prioritize. The list is extensive.
ate reaction is one of concern mixed with a host
sometimes causes more anxiety than does the
The top five move about in my thoughts; my God,
of urgent questions: Should I call on the student
speech disorder itself. "Even the children who
husband, children and their spouses, grand chil-
in class, or will that only make it worse? How
receive therapy to help them speak more fluently
dren and friends. Friends defined as those folks
should I handle teasing and bullying by other
continue to have negative feelings as they grow
who REALLY know me and love me anyway.
students? What should I do about reading aloud
older," Murphy says. "Their ability to commu-
My first read each month in the Sunshine Express
nicate is still hindered by the shame and embar-
is "Kelly's World". Of particular interest was
The Stuttering Foundation has a 20-minute video
rassment they feel about stuttering, which is often
Kelly's World in the October issue. He mentioned
free online, Stuttering: Straight Talk for Teachers,
brought on by teasing."
the mystery of his birth saying "half of his an-
at www.stutteringhelp.org. The film helps parents
Murphy suggests teachers make stuttering an open
cestry was completely unknown". At the time I
and teachers understand how stuttering can affect
topic for discussion. One exercise a teacher can
read his words part of my ancestry had just been
children of all ages in the classroom and is also
use is to discuss famous people who stutter. NBA
available at most public libraries in DVD. Some
star Kenyon Martin, news anchor John Stossel, and
In my 70th year I learned that my Great grand-
libraries have the older video version.
actors James Earl Jones and Nicholas Brendon are
mother was of Saponi Indian descent. She was
The highlight of the film is the children who dis-
just a few who struggle with stuttering.
kidnapped by a band of Gypsies as a young
cuss their experiences in the classroom and share
The DVD, offered free to all public libraries, comes
girl. Upon finding her, the family traded a horse
what was helpful for them. "Even when I knew
with a 32-page handbook of resources. A library
for her return! Evidently, though, Great Grand
the answer, I wouldn't raise my hand because
that will shelve it can contact the Foundation at
Mother Rebecca rejoined the Gypsy Clan, because
I was worried about what others might think,"
800.992.9392, email@example.com, or visit
she was riding with them when my very Irish
says Umberto, a teenager in the film. He added
www.stutteringhelp.org or www.tartarmudez.org.
Great Grandfather met her.
that giving a classroom presentation on stutter-
We children knew that our Grandfather made a
ing to the entire class has made him feel more at
yearly pilgrimage to meet with the Gypsy Queen.
Cranberries dripping down my chin have stained
ease. "At the beginning of the school year, I was
It was never talked about and strangely none of
my pilgrim suit. I ate too much Thanksgiving day,
embarrassed to read aloud in front of my teacher
us ever asked why. Now there is no one living to
but I don't give a hoot. I slurped a pile of dressing,
and friends because of my stuttering," says Kate.
gobbled down a turkey thigh, dribbled messy
She worked with her teacher to make a plan about
The Gypsy Queen was laid to rest in a mausoleum
cranberries, devoured some pumpkin pie.
how she could practice first at home and then in-
at the cemetery in Marshall, Illinois. The com-
Within me on this special day, it's a thankful
dividually with her teacher. Martin offers a differ-
munity believes that as long as she is there, no
heart that beats. For all the things that I enjoy,
ent perspective. "I feel confident and even though
tornado will ever touch the town. Hmm...
but mainly for the eats!
I might mess up when I talk, I'm not ashamed. I
I am fascinated with all this new knowledge.
* *** *
still want the teacher to call on me even though I
What, I wonder, would my ancestors think of me
We're grateful for our eyes that see.
might be having a bad day."
if they could have been time transported 150 years
The beauty all around,
Noted speech-language pathologists Bill Murphy,
into the future? What remembrances of us will
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
M.A., of Purdue University and Kristin Chmela,
our grandchildren share with their children and
And ears to hear each sound.
M.A., of Northwestern University present practi-
so on. Will they remember catching pollywogs in
The list of all we're grateful for.
cal strategies teachers can use immediately to
the creek, walks in the forest, exploring and look-
Would fill a great big book;
help children feel more comfortable talking in the
ing for treasures? Perhaps.
Our thankful hearts find new delights.
classroom. "The courage and honesty of the chil-
Most of all I pray their memories are full of
Everywhere we look!
dren sharing their experiences helps teachers