Stammering (also referred to as dysfluency or stuttering)

Stammering is sometimes referred to as stuttering. Speech and Language Therapists often refer to it as dysfluency. This is because the flow of speech is not fluent.

Many young children go through a period of ‘non-fluency’ while their speech and language is developing. This period of dysfluent often disappears when speech and language skills have developed and are established. However, in some children dysfluent talking can persist. This can lead to low confidence, being teased at school and avoiding speaking to others.

Stammering can present in several ways, these can include –

  • Repeating the initial sounds of words e.g. – c c c cat, b b b ball
  • Prolonging the sounds in words e.g. – daaaaaaad
  • Struggling to say a sound or word e.g. – umm……….mum
  • Experiencing tension in the face, throat and shoulders – this can be excessive eye blinking or facial twitching
  • Experiencing tension in the body
  • Avoiding saying certain words

Speech and Language Therapists can help a child and parents to deal with these difficulties. Some Speech and Language Therapists have specialist training and can deliver specific programs devised to help stammering.


Speech and Language Therapists can help a child with these difficulties by –

  • Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of general communication
  • Giving specific interventions to help general communication skills
  • Giving direct one to one therapy that focuses on the specific stammering issues
  • Giving interventions through groups
  • Advising  teachers  on how best to help a child who stammers
  • Helping a child regain confidence and deal with stammering effectively
  • Working with children and their parents on the best way to facilitate effective communication
  • Advise on specific stammering programs e.g. The Lidcombe Program
  • Being able to advise and refer on to specialist centres
  • Helping to develop relaxation techniques

Last updated: January 26th, 2018