Author(s): Davis S, Howell p, Cooke F
BACKGROUND: Previous research has indicated that children who stutter are more likely to be bullied and to hold a lower social position than their peers who do not stutter. However, the majority of this research has used data from respondents who were in the educational system more than 20 years ago. The current policy on integration of children with severe disabilities into mainstream education and the increased awareness of bullying in schools would indicate that attitudes toward children who stutter might have changed in the intervening period. METHOD: The study uses a sociometric scale (adapted from Coie, Dodge, & Coppotelli, 1982) to assess children who stutter in classroom groups with fluent peers. The peer relationships between 16 children who stutter and their classmates (403 children in total) were examined. RESULTS: Children who stutter were rejected significantly more often than were their peers and were significantly less likely to be popular. When compared to children who do not stutter, the children who stutter were less likely to be nominated as 'leaders' and were more likely to be nominated to the 'bullied' and 'seeks help' categories. CONCLUSIONS: The changes in integration policy and the implementation of anti-bullying policies in many schools appear to have made little impact on the social status of children who stutter. The incidence of bullying and rejection reported in this study has implications for schools and clinicians.