What is stammering?

Stammering or Stuttering is a speech problem which occurs when the speaker is not able to maintain a smooth forward flow of speech and experiences recurrent blocks/prolongations/repetitions in the production of speech sounds in conversational speech, particularly when excited or under psychological stress.

During childhood it can fluctuate. In other words it can disappear and then return. Evidence shows that most children outgrow this phase over a few weeks or months, although at the time this can be hard to believe.

Causes of stammering?

Dr. EdwardConture, Professor of Speech Pathology at Syracuse University, New York, talks about what causes stammering

“Things that cause stammering may be, and probably are, quite different from the things that keep it going, aggravate or worsen it. For example, if you mishandle a knife, you may cut your finger. The knife causes the cut and initial pain. Salt rubbed into the cut makes the pain continue or even worsen it but the salt does not cause the cut”. Dr. Conture says, scientists “…still haven’t found the ‘knife’ that causes stammering. However, we do know something about the ‘salt’ that keeps it going, makes it worse or aggravates it”.

How you can get help?

Consult a speech and language therapist (SLT) as soon as you can. Speech therapy has been shown to be more effective before the age of five. Although your child may/may not need regular therapy, the therapist can carry out a full assessment, offer advice, and help you to monitor your child's fluency.

In the meantime, take a look at the following guidelines that can help young children to develop their fluency skills. It may also be helpful to show this leaflet to other family members and adults in your child's life such as teachers.

Helpful tips for Parents:

1. Show your child that you are interested in what he says, not how he says it.  

2. Be supportive.  If you speak quickly, slow down your own rate of speech when you talk to your child. 

3. Be encouraging if your child gets upset about her speech, just as you would if she was upset about any other difficulty.                                                                            

4. Observe your child's speaking patterns but try to resist seeing it as a 'problem?'.

5. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your full attention to your child in a calm, relaxed atmosphere.  

6. Reduce the number of questions you ask.  

7. Take turns to talk so that everyone in the family can speak without being interrupted.

8. Respond to your child's behavior in the same way that you would with a child who does not stammer. 

 9. Try to avoid a hectic and rushed lifestyle. 

What we offer?

We offer a range of therapy here at our centre which helps us to give you the support that you need. Your first appointment will be an assessment. Depending on your age, you may be asked to attend with your parents or on your own.

At the end of the assessment, next steps will be discussed. This may be:

1. Therapy with your local Speech & Language Therapist, with a review at our centre in 2 months.
2. Individual therapy at our centre
3. Group therapy at our Centre

Do you know?

Ø  People who stammer are as intelligent as those who don’t.

Ø  Stammering can run in families

Ø  Early intervention for stammering  is best but therapy can help at any age

Ø  It is very important to talk about stammering

Ø  Stammering is not caused by nervousness

Ø  Stuttering is same as stammering

Ø  Most people don’t stammer when they sing