Text Only | Print This Page | Accessibility | Staff Zone
Peninsula Community Health


What is Stammering or Stuttering?

Stammering or stuttering is where the smooth flow of speech is interrupted.

How this happens is very individual to the person with the stammer. Not only does stammering vary from individual to individual but the intensity of the stammer can vary throughout the day.

Speech can be hesitant and jerky, some sounds particularly initial sounds of a word can be repeated or sometimes whole words or phrases are repeated. At other times sounds or words appear to ‘get stuck’.

What are the Causes?

The reasons why this occurs isn’t yet understood. There appears to be a number of factors which affect the speech mechanism and these can be:

  • physical
  • linguistic
  • genetic
  • environmental.

When Does a Stammer Develop?

People can develop a stammer at different ages, many childhood stammers can be resolved while others persist into adulthood.

The intensity of the stammer can vary in different circumstances and individuals develop a range of strategies to manage their stammer. Some people with a mild or moderate stammer may try and hide their stammer and avoid specific situations (a covert stammer) while other people may stammer openly.

How Can Speech and Language Therapy Help?

Speech and Language Therapy can offer expert help. We’ll treat you as an individual and listen to what you hope to achieve.

Together we’ll write your goals for therapy. 

  • We can work together to build your self confidence and good communication.
  • We can analyse your stammer, looking at circumstances where talking is easier and identifying factors that aid fluency.
  • We can introduce fluency enhancing techniques for you to practice in the clinic and at home/work/college etc.

In order to bring about positive change it will be necessary for you to have time to practice the exercises you’ve agreed to with your speech therapist.

Case Study

Gina came to speech therapy because she felt her stammer had got worse.

She felt increasingly anxious about this at work and as a result she found herself avoiding more and more situations including speaking out at meetings.

She worked in a hospital and realised that she needed to do something as she often had valuable information she needed to share.

Gina completed a block of therapy, her confidence and fluency increased significantly and she was able to take a lead in group discussions. She felt much better about herself and was confident enough to apply for another job with greater responsibility.