Information on Stammering

It is estimated that between 13% of the adult population experience lifelong stammering.  

Stammering is a neurodevelopmental variation that changes the fluency of speech. Stammering is not caused by anxiety.  

Most stammering occurs in childhood, however for some people stammering is acquired later in life. This may be following a brain injury or neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease or Functional Neurological Symptoms. Everyone’s stammer is unique. For some people stammering is more visible (this is called overt stammering) and for others it is less obvious to others (interiorised or covert stammering). 

Stammering is variable and not always predictable. This can be frustrating and may lead people to try to anticipate when stammering may occur. This anticipation can result in increasing levels of stress. 

There are widespread misunderstandings about stammering in society. This can lead people to try to hide their stammer by avoiding certain ‘trigger’ words or avoiding situations which require them to speak. Avoidance requires a lot of energy and planning and therefore can be extremely tiring. 

Misunderstandings about stammering may also lead to internalising negative feelings and thoughts about stammering. These negative thoughts can impact a person’s behaviour and emotional state. 

Helpful suggestions

Generally it is most helpful to let your stammer be there because trying not to stammer often makes speaking much harder. Learning to let the stammer be there can take time, courage and patience. 

Reducing any feelings of pressure to speak quickly can really help. Take the time you need to say the words you want to say. It is important you feel you have the opportunity to say what you want to. 

Being open with others about your stammer is one way of taking the pressure off yourself to conform to fluency norms that society can exert. 

To access more information about this resource and the service related to it, you can review the related resources below.

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