Stammering

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By Dr Hannah MortimerEducational Psychologist

Essential information and advice to help you support children who stammer in the EYFS

Young boy (posed by model)


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A unique child

About one child in every 20 who are under the age of five, will go though a phase of stammering at some stage in their speech and language development. Many young children think faster than they can speak and find it hard to put thoughts into words, especially when upset or excited. You will be very familiar with this. However, there are also children who find it genuinely hard to speak smoothly and fluently. When children stammer, there are little stops and disruptions in the flow of their speech that makes it sound disjointed. Sometimes speech sounds are repeated, sometimes they are prolonged and sometimes the child does not seem to be able to make the sound at all.

We are not sure what causes stammering though it does seem to run in families and brain activity appears to be slightly different when people stammer. It affects people in very different ways and can significantly get in the way of communication. Unfortunately, when children begin to stammer, they can lose confidence and they quickly pick up on the anxiety of those around them who point out, correct and add stress. A vicious cycle can be set up with anxiety making it even harder for a child to speak fluently.

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