Dear 6th Grade Teachers,

My name is Kristen Amato (and for all of you who had her, I’m Nicole Amato’s sister). I am really looking forward to 6th grade. I’m also looking forward to meeting each of you and being in your class. I am writing to you today to let you know that I stutter. I belong to an organization for young people who stutter called Friends, and every summer they have a three-day conference. I went to Ohio for the conference in July.

In fourth grade I did a presentation for my class about stuttering. I have decided that this letter may help you to understand some things about stuttering that you might not already know.

Stuttering is when your vocal cords get stuck and it takes you a little longer to get a word out. It is not caused by being nervous. It is genetic in my case. My father stutters and both of my sisters either have stuttered in the past or do stutter now. Part of managing my stuttering is to let people I spend a lot of time with know how to handle it when I stutter.

Don’t hesitate or be afraid to call on me in class. I love to participate and stuttering can’t and won’t stop me (unless you let it). I had an incident when I was in a primary grade. I was answering a question. I started to stutter, and the teacher called on someone else. I was really upset and I remember it clearly to this day.

Some days I stutter more than others.

I don’t want to be treated differently or get any special attention. I want to be treated like anyone else who answers a question in class, even though it might take me a little longer sometimes if I get stuck on a word. Please don’t finish sentences or words for me, or talk over me.

Please, don’t ignore me.

Sincerely,

Kristen Amato

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