What is a stammer?
A stammer is the disruption of the forward flow and timing of speech by repetition of sounds, syllables or words, sound prolongation and/or blocking on sounds, silent or audible.
These differ from breaks in fluency typically experienced, such as hesitations, pauses to process ideation or production, as they may involve significant tension and struggle.
Disruptions may be accompanied by secondary behaviours (facial grimaces, head/body movements), physical tension, negative reactions, avoidance of sounds, words or situations or decreased overall communication.
What causes children to stammer?
In truth, we still don’t quite understand why a particular child starts to stammer at a particular time in his or her language development.
One in every five children will be at risk of persistent stammering; early intervention as soon as possible after onset has the best chance of success.
For more information about stammering, visit the British Stammering Association website.
How specialist speech and language therapy can help
Speech and language therapists play a unique role in identification and assessment of children and adults with fluency disorders which affect their communication. Their unique skills allow the diagnose the specific fluency disorder, the associated consequences as well as retained communication abilities.
Early referral is advocated and associated with better outcomes in young children.