Stammering In Children


Stammering (also called stuttering) can affect people of all ages and is more common in males than females. Many research projects have been carried out to establish the cause of stammering. Stammering is variable, and the amount and severity of stammering can increase/decrease at different times, with different people or in different environments. It can also be affected by how the person is feeling. Consequently, words that can be said quite easily on one occasion, may be not be spoken fluently on other occasions. This is due to the many physiological, psychological, linguistic and environmental factors which may affect fluency.

How Stammering Presents

Stammering can take the form of:

  • Speech blocks – where the sounds/words become stuck in the throat.
  • Prolongations – where sounds are lengthened/stretched.
  • Repetition of sounds/words.
  • There may be accompanying tension and movements in the mouth/face/body.
  • Sometimes stammering can be hidden (covert) where the speaker changes words when they anticipate a stammer. Or, they may avoid speaking in certain situations.
Stammering Can Be Helped

Communication is vital to allow your child to participate, learn to read, access the curriculum, form relationships, express feelings, make suggestions and stand up for him/herself. Specialist therapy can help both children and adults to increase their fluency and become confident and successful communicators whether or not they continue to stammer.

Therapy Model
  • You will gain an understanding about how your child’s speech becomes dysfluent – how breathing is affected and why his/her tongue and/or lips may appear to stick.
  • You will also gain insight into why words, which can be said effortlessly in one environment, are frequently blocked/stuttered in other situations. This is something that can be fixed.
  • Your child will learn effective and permanent fluency-shaping techniques and you and your child will be supported through a series of graded exercises to achieve full fluency and confidence in all speech situations.
Stammering in Children
Sue's Specialist Expertise

In her NHS role, Mrs Addlestone is head of the stammering service for children in a community setting and head of the stammering service for adults in a hospital setting and both trains and supports junior therapists in stammering. She has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating stammerers and has training in counselling and family therapy. Mrs Addlestone has worked as a lecturer and examiner on the speech therapy graduate course at MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University).

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