According to the British Stammering Association 5% or more of children under the age of five will go through a phase of stammering at some stage in their speech and language development. The cause of stammering is unknown but research appears to suggest that it is a neurological condition, and that there are differences in the anatomy and functioning of the brain of those who stammer compared with those who don’t.
Speech and language therapy has been shown to be very effective with children under five and this type of support at an early age gives a young child the best chance of a complete recovery.
The British Stammering Association offer the following advice when speaking or listening to a child who has a stammer
When speaking to your child
- Slow down your rate of speech, but don't tell your child to slow down or take a deep breath.
- Let your child have special time when she leads the way with an activity of her choice.
- Ask one question at a time and give him plenty of time to answer.
- Use short, simple sentences.
When listening to your child
- Keep eye-contact.
- Pay attention to what your child is saying, not how he says it.
- Pause before answering questions.
- Make sure everyone gets a turn to speak.
- Acknowledge speech difficulties with reassurance and encouragement - not with corrections or criticism.
For more information on stammering you may find these websites useful