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Time to talk stammering

Stammering or stuttering

If your child hesitates over words, repeats whole sentences or sounds, or completely blocks on some sounds or words, it may be a sign of early stammering. For some children this may be a time of non-fluent speech, which may get better as your child becomes more familiar with speech and language.

Stammering, or stuttering, is a problem with the normal flow and timing of speech. Your child may struggle to get their words out or keep repeating words.

Around five per cent of children develop a stammer at some point. It usually starts between the ages of two and five when a child is first learning speech and language skills. Remember that it’s okay to be non-fluent and if your child becomes frustrated by the way they are talking, encourage them to talk about how they feel. Give your child lots of opportunity to explain how they feel and don’t laugh or tell them off.

If the problem persists and you or your child are still anxious please contact your GP or local speech and language therapist.

Tips

If your child is stammering give them plenty of time for conversation and when you talk them, try to speak a bit slower than you would usually. This will slow down the natural pace of the conversation and might help your child to speak without stammering. You can also try keeping your sentences short and uncomplicated, which will encourage your child to do the same.

Stop

Many children grow out of stammering without any treatment but it's best to get help sooner rather than later.

Think

Avoid saying or finishing words for your child. It can be tempting, but it is better to give your child time. Be patient.

Do

You know your child best so if you think there is a cause for concern, then refer them to a speech and language therapist.