Freda Walters, a master's student in speech language pathology, won the Travers Reid Award for the best young researcher at the 10th Oxford Dysfluency Conference, for her feasibility study on interventions to prevent the teasing and bullying of children who stutter.
The primary aim of the study was to determine if peers' attitudes toward stuttering children changed after the administration of a classroom-based intervention. Participants included 196 Grade 7 learners from Cape Town. The intervention was administered by the teacher and presented to the class through storytelling and role-play, accompanied by discussion.
"The results indicated that the peers presented with more positive attitudes after the intervention, when compared to the control group," explained Walters, adding that, "The implication of this is that peers have more awareness of stuttering and hold more positive attitudes towards children who stutter after the intervention. The hope is that this would translate into less bullying and teasing of children who stutter, which in turn will improve their general wellbeing."
The judging panel praised her project for its "innovative approach to fluency intervention".
"This acknowledgement opens up new opportunities to take this research further and work in an international team. The research community at the conference was impressed by the high quality of the research we are doing, as well as how this intervention links to addressing issues in society," said Walters.
Story by Abigail Calata. Image supplied.
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