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Does anyone have a child with a stammer?

(12 Posts)
NorthernComfort Fri 11-Feb-11 10:39:51

DS2 is only 2 and a half but he sometimes really struggles to get certain words out. After someone recently (helpfully) pointed out after seeing "The King's Speech" that it was probably my fault I did some online research and it appears that it's probably not the case! I'm going to go and talk to someone about getting a referral for a speech therapist but if anyone has any experience of this, can they grow out of it? I really have the thought of him having a hard time at school because of this... sad

Allegrogirl Fri 11-Feb-11 13:11:50

My DD started this at exactly the same age. Me and DH were very worried as DH has stammered since primary school. Spoke to the HV who told us 3 was the youngest we could see a speech therapist but put her name down should she need it by then. By the time she got to 3 she didn't need it.

It was a short lived phase that does return every few months as her speech development leaps forward. It is common at this age and they usually grow out of it.

I found this helpful

JellyBelly10 Fri 11-Feb-11 13:18:09

My son spoke totally normally (well, as normally as a toddler can!) until he was 2.5 when he developed a stammer overnight. It co-incided with the birth of his brother. I don't know that there is any correlation between his stammer and the baby coming, but they definitely happened at exactly. Initially I read up about it and hoped he'd grow out of it, we never corrected him or hurried him, just listened attentively as he struggled to get it all out. After almost a year of this I went to a local drop-in speech and language clinic where he was assessed and referred to a specialist. We attended regular sessions where they taught us a method called PCI (Parent CHild INterraction). This involved us doing regular "special times" with him one to one where we would play with him, let him lead the play, let him have lots of time for unhurried, unstressed talking etc etc. To be honest we never found that this had any effect. By the Summer before he was due to start school in the SEptember, his stammer was so bad there were times he could hardly communicate. It was awful. I went back to the speech therapy and asked fpr something different to be done. And that's when we started doing something called the LIdcombe Programme. It involved similar one to one sessions with him every day and weekly sessions at the clinic. It is based on praising and commenting on smooth speech and (eventually) commenting on the "bumpy" speech so that the child learns to recognise when they are stammering. They are taught to slow down, to rectify the stammering when they know they are doing it. IT's much more complex than that but that sort of sums it up. This proved brilliant! And with masses of dedication to doing it, after about 9 months he was speaking almost fluently.
He's now 6 and in year one, and sometimes he speaks so smoothly no-one would ever know he had a stammer. At other times, presumably through anxiety, excitemnt, nerves, tiredness...he stammers mildly..and sometimes not so mildly. But last year he was diagnosed with a totally unrelated, serious condition which he has just been through surgery for, so unsurprisingly with all this to deal with, he's currently stammering. But it will pass again as things settle down.
Your child is very young. 1 in a 100 children stammer in early childhood, but only a small percentage of those children will go on to be a lfie;long stammerer. So on the bright side, it is highly unlikely that your child will develop this further into childhood. BUt if he does I want you to know these things:
1) My child so far has never been bullied about it, and in fact other children hardly seem to notice it. Young children are incredibly accepting of all sorts of things that we as adults would pick up on.
2) it is absolutely NOT your fault!
The best web-site to look at by far
it has a link to the Michael Palin Centre which is the specialist UK centre, it's based in LOndon so unless your in the Islington Health Care catchment you couldn't be treated there long-term, but if it turns out that your child is a stammerer like mine, and it is deemed serious enough, you can get referred there for one of assessments and advice (we did, and they were brilliant).
PLease remember that it is highly likely taht your child will just be the 1 in a 100 who get a developmental stammer which will pass, not like my son. But I would also urge you to remember that if it turns out that your child's stammer is lifelong, he can learn to control it, even if it returns spradically at times of stress etc. But remember too that your child's stammer is not the sum of them, it is just one little aspect of them that can be treated and controlled with speech therapy and dedication from you, but I know that is hard to realise when you first come up against this and think that it will ruin their lives and that there'll be picked on etc etc!
Many adults that you know and talk to on a regular basis are stammerers, but you would never realise it because it is something they can control. I am a mild stammerer, but none of my friends know!

NorthernComfort Fri 11-Feb-11 14:08:33

thank you both- Allegro that's great that your daughter grew out of it, fingers crossed ds will!

JellyBelly, great post, thanks for taking the time. I'm glad your ds is able to control it, oddly enough I spoke to am adult the other day who wasn't stammering but I got the impression he was trying hard not to and he really reminded me of ds. I'm going to make an appointment with the gp and see what happens and will also check out your links. It's funny but I was wondering if I should "help" him by saying the word he's trying to say but it seemed a bit rude so I've generally just let him lead. It wasn't too bad last week but this week it's really pronounced and it can take him ages to get a word out. I'll make sure we get time every day to just give him my undivided attention and see if it helps. smile

bastis Fri 11-Feb-11 16:31:02

My twin daughters are now 4 and both have stammered from time to time (not at the same time). It seems to be just that their brains are going faster than they can form the words and they get completely stuck. we just tell them to take a deep breath, think carefully and try again and it usually works. It seems to come in phases and is worse when they are tired or they have lots going on they want to tell us. Both talk well for their age and with each it has just been a short phase they grow through. Hope this helps.

Tgger Fri 11-Feb-11 21:20:12

Hi there,
Personally I would just ignore it and talk to him normally. Don't draw attention to it. He is two and a half and this is prime age to stammer. My DS and a lot of his friends stammered at this age. They are now 4 and none of them do smile.

I think at this age their brains go ahead of their physical ability to get the words out which results in the stammer. Generally between 2 and 3 it is normal to stammer. If it continues much beyond 3 then it's worth trying to get help- or certainly at 4/5. At 3 they could still be stammering "naturally" I think, but then as they get to 4/5 their tongues and mouths should have caught up with their brains.

Chill out tho'- I do remember listening to a lot of stammering as DS age 2 formed extremely complicated sentences of quite complex ideas (for his age). It was painful to listen to, but only for us, he didn't care one hoot, was more frustrated if he couldn't get his idea across and not sure he even noticed the stammer...

StevenBSA Thu 28-Apr-11 14:08:42

Hello, I work at the British Stammering Association and thought I'd write something.

As has been said, it is quite common for children to experience difficulties with their speech- around 5% of children under the age of 5 will do so. Around the age of 2-3 is when most children start to stammer, although it can develop at a later age.

In the majority of cases, they will naturally outgrow it. However, we do not advise that parents leave it to correct itself, as some of the posts above have said, as up to a quarter of children are at risk of developing chronic stammering which may persist into adulthood without intervention during the pre-school years.

Therefore, we advise anyone concerned about their child's stammer to get their child assessed by a Speech and Language Therapist as early as possible. It's never too early to act. By getting in touch with the British Stammering Association, we can give you direct contact details of your local NHS therapy service where you can refer yourself without having to go through your GP.

If you are concerned, phone our helpline (local rate) on 0845 603 2001 or email

Stammering can affect children in lots of different ways -some will block at the start of sentences, some midway, and others at the end. Some will repeat sounds.

The exact causes of stammering are not yet fully known, but new research is suggesting that it's genetic. There is no evidence that parents cause stammering, so don't blame yourselves.

Please see this link for parents of under 5's from our website, which gives tips on what to do in the home to support your child:

And here is a link for older children:

For more information about stammering in general see our website

I hope this helps
British Stammering Association

castlesintheair Thu 28-Apr-11 14:18:28

My DD2 (4) has had a stammer on and off a bit this year. It seems to have completely gone now. She got stuck repeating the first word. I didn't draw attention to it verbally but I used to crouch down and turn her to face me. I saw the SALT today (about her unclear S's) and she said sometimes it is a good idea to draw attention towards the stammer but unfortunately as it isn't a problem for us anymore, I didn't find out why. I guess it could be due to child's personality - my DD2 for example is not particularly sensitive and when her older siblings and their 'orrible friends laughed at her a bit she ended up taking the mickey out of herself, so maybe the self-realisation is what helped "cure" it. Hth.

Janoschi Fri 29-Apr-11 19:05:36

I agree with StephenBSA. My own stammering started at age 4 and my parents did absolutely nothing to sort it out. I still have it now, though I have days were it doesn't show at all and days which are awful. People thought I was stupid as a child because I often pretended not to know an answer in school because I knew I couldn't say it. It can really crush confidence!

So, please do get it checked out.

sotiredandfedup Sun 01-May-11 15:46:39

Please check out 'Lidcombe' stammering therapy. Try googling it. Many SALT's offer this specialist therapy and it is very effective. The SALT teaches the parents how to address the stammering, games to play and how to monitor progress. Research shows that this type of therapy is best done before the child is 6 yo. HTH

openerofjars Wed 22-Jun-11 09:23:38

Thanks for this info, esp the links: my 2.5 to DS has just started stammering when he's tired or upset, but is otherwise a very good talker. We are going to see if the BSA can get us a referral to a speech and language therapist (our GP's standard answer to anything is "wait 6 months & see how it goes" for anything, diarrhoea, infertility, broken leg (joke) etc).

I knew Mumsnet would be good for signposting this.

Toughasoldboots Wed 22-Jun-11 09:41:11

My ds stammered from about 3-5 years. He did grow out of it, very occasionally when he is nervous it will reappear ( age 11), but he is fine now.

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