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Understanding Stammering

Stammering, also known as stuttering, is a speech difficulty that affects the smooth and fluent production of words.
Stammering and stuttering refer to the same thing. In the UK, we tend to talk about ‘stammering’, whereas in the USA and Australia, ‘stuttering’ is often used.

When a child stammers, they may experience the following:
Repetitions: They may repeat sounds, syllables, or whole words. For example, saying “b-b-b-ball” for “ball.”
Prolongations: They may extend the duration of sounds, such as “sssssnake” for “snake.”
Blocks: They may find it difficult to initiate speech, resulting in a pause or complete halt in their speech.

Stammering moments can vary in frequency, and it’s important to recognise that it’s not a result of nervousness or a lack of intelligence. It is a complex condition with a range of potential causes, including genetic factors, neurological differences, and environmental influences.

Stammering typically emerges between the ages of 2 and 5 as children are developing spoken language skills. Some children may begin to stammer later in childhood. Although relatively equal at onset, by adolescence boys are 4 -5 times more likely to stammer than girls. Approximately 8% of children will stammer at some point, while it is estimated that around 1% of adults stammer.

Stammering can have emotional and social implications for children, as it may affect their confidence and ability to communicate effectively. Early intervention and support can make a significant difference in helping children manage their stammer and develop confidence in their communication skills.

At Action for Stammering Children, we’re here to provide the information you need to find the support that is right for your child and your family. We exist to ensure that every child has the support, respect and confidence to live the life they want to lead. Take a look at our support pages to learn more about the support we can offer.