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Supporting Children Who Stammer

Stammering, stuttering and dysfluency all mean the same thing; a problem with the co-ordination and flow of speech. Around one in every 12 children will experience stammering, usually starting between the ages of 2 and 5 years.
You may notice:

  • Repeating g. mu-mu-mummy, I can’t – I can’t – I can’t do it.
  • Prolonging sounds g. Ca _ _ _ _ _ _ an I come too? Shhhhhhall I put it here?
  • Blocking g. there may be silence as the child tries to speak.
  • Giving up trying to speak at all.
  • Using head and facial movements to help them when words get stuck.

Stammering usually begins in young children, perhaps as soon as the child starts to speak. It can start gradually or suddenly and in some children it comes and goes. The majority of children will grow out of this stage after a few weeks or months, but about a quarter may continue to stammer and for some this may continue into adulthood. It is 3 to 4 times more common in boys than in girls.

We are NOT nervous

The following video goes through types of stammering such as repetition, blocking, elongating words and physical actions.


This project is collaboration between Speech and Language Therapy at Humber NHS Trust, Artlink Hull, the general public and people who stammer. Stammering affects 5% of children and 1% of adults, and can significantly impact the communication between individuals.

Tips for Teachers with Abed Ahmed

Abed Ahmed is a teacher who stammers from Birmingham and he sat down with ASC to give us some invaluable advice for teachers about how they can help students who stammer.

    • Don’t give advice like ‘slow down’ or ‘take a deep breath’, it can draw attention to a the stammer.
    • Give your child plenty of time to say what they want.
    • Keep your own speech slow and calm.
    • Keep natural eye contact.
    • Listen to what they say rather than how they say it.
    • Take turns in conversations and leave pauses.
    • Acknowledge and reassure if your child shows frustration, just as you would for any other difficulty.
    • With an older child, talk openly and positively about stammering. There are lots of famous people that stammer and having positive role models can have a beneficial impact on a child that stammers.
    • Signs that your child would benefit from help include:
      They are aged 3+, and have been stammering for several months and it has become more noticeable.
    • A family member stammers or used to stammer.
    • Your child is choosing to talk less than usual.
    • They are worried about speaking to new people or in new situations.

    Speech and language therapy for stammering is delivered by a team of specialist speech and language therapists and can include:

    • Assessment
    • 1 to 1 therapy sessions
    • School liaison
    • Parent sessions
    • Group therapy

    Therapy can help you and your child understand stammering, develop their confidence and reduce the impact it has on their life.

    You can make a direct referral using the form *here*.

Who Can Help?

For more information about how to support a child with hearing loss *click here*.

You can contact the Norfolk & Waveney Speech & Language Therapy Service by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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