Sometimes I stammer when speaking

What is a stammer?

A stammer is a condition that affects the ability to speak smoothly or fluently.  A person who stammers may repeat or prolong sounds or words or sometimes may not be able to get any sound out at all. The severity and frequency of the stammer can be variable.  It does not always stay the same and can vary depending on the situation and who you are talking to.

You are not alone. Based on the most recent research it is estimated that up to 3% of the adult population stammer. Stammering can be misunderstood by others which can result in negative reactions.  It is not linked with intelligence and is not caused by character or personality traits. It is not your fault that you stammer. 

Many people who stammer try to hide their stammer, often at great personal cost.  This can take the form of avoiding situations such as talking on the phone, ordering drinks in the pub or avoiding any social event.  Certain words may be avoided or changed and sometimes the choice will be to remain silent in order to keep the stammer hidden.

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How can speech therapy help?

Speech therapy aims to work with you to reduce the negative impact of stammering on your daily life. It will also look at strategies to increase confidence in speaking and address and challenge negative perceptions you may hold about your stammer. Therapy is not a ‘quick fix’ or ‘cure’ and will take time and commitment. 

The below is from a patient’s perspective

“SLT has supported me with my stammer and the obstacles it presents to everyday life. They not only provided me with techniques and methods to help with my fluency but more importantly changed my perception concerning my stammer. That it’s not something to hide or be shamed about. The change in mindset has allowed me to improve and progress in my personal and professional life.”

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What to expect from speech therapy

Dorset speech and language therapy service has therapists who have received further training and have a special interest in stammering. 

You will have an initial 1:1 appointment with one of these therapists which at the current time is likely to be via video link. 

At this appointment the therapist will take a detailed history from you and you will have opportunity to talk about your personal experience of stammering and how it has impacted on your everyday life.  Each person will have a different story and therapy will be tailored to meet your individual needs. 

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How do I access speech therapy?

You can either refer yourself or be referred to the service.

Further information

British Stammering Association – now known as STAMMA. This website has a wealth of information, leaflets and resources as well as personal stories from people who stammer.

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