What to do when someone stammers?

Reasons why someone stammers:

There are many reasons why someone stammers, stutters or is dysfluent. The situation may arise when the environment is noisy, busy, frightening, exciting, tiring, competitive, there may be interruptions and lots of talking, as well when the child is just learning the language and they have so much to say.

What sort of speaking situations can lead to more dysfluency?

  • Speaking to adults who talk very quickly.
  • Speaking while having to look high up to see the listener’s face.
  • Speaking when you think you will be interrupted.
  • Speaking to someone who is not really listening.
  • Speaking when you fear the consequences of what you say.
  • Speaking when you do not want to or when you have nothing to say.
  • Speaking when very tired, upset, or feeling unwell.
  • Speaking in a rush when you have a lot to say or a complex idea to express.

It can be difficult to offer support to others when we are anxious ourselves!

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However, if a child stammers, trying to take the child’s view changes our focus and makes helping possible. Then we can do those things that make the child feel loved and wanted as well as all the little things that help in particular situations, for example:

  • Listening attentively
  • Responding kindly and uncritically.
  • Offering physical support when needed
  • Helping the child to feel safe.
  • Being encouraging.
  • Helping others understand our child.

We hope this post is a big help for you. Let us know in the comments section below how it has helped you or your child. Or if you have any questions or comments.


14 thoughts on “What to do when someone stammers?”

  1. I have a family member who stammers. I will direct them to your website for this useful information. Can they ask you further questions if they need to?

  2. Useful information for helping someone who stammers. Singing is also a useful tool for stammers in certain situations.

  3. I went through this with some kids in school and I just found that patience was the key. It’s not easy for kids to go through this. In fact my daughter was speech delayed so as it was a little different it was still challenging.
    I found that giving the child confidence and understanding really helps. After all, we’re all the same on the inside. Everyone has their share of issues too.

    • You are spot on there Rob. Children need to be given lots of time, patience, understanding, respect and ofcourse the love to enable them to flourish and grow up to become the best versions of themselves. It’s even harder and challenging if they are facing some additional difficulties. It’s a good idea to seek the professional help and support from professionals such as Speech and language therapy service, or the child development services.

      Kind Regards


  4. This is a very interesting article. I often wondered if it was a physical malady that causes someone to stutter. I see there are a lot of psychological and environmental factors involved. Thanks for sharing.


    • Thank you for your useful comments Courtney. Yes there are a lot of factors that contribute to stammering including a trauma, which could be both physical and or emotional. Kind Regards


  5. Thank you for listing ways a person can help the child. I used to work with kids and would have never known how to help, but I know now so better late than never. It’s sad to think about how some kids don’t feel valued and it’s messes with them

    • You are welcome Miranda.

      Stammering can be a very sensitive issue for people who suffer from it. Therefore it is very tricky to support those when they are already low in confidence and self esteem due to their stammer.

      So, it’s important to build their confidence and make them feel valued like any other person.

      Specialist services such as Speech and Language Therapy can support those who work with the child to manage the care effectively. Hope this is useful. Kind Regards


  6. This was a very enlightening read. My grand daughter suffered for a long time with a stammer. Fortunately as she got older and more confident, that stammer has gone.

    • Hi Stephen,
      That’s great to hear that your granddaughter’s stammer improved with time. There are a lot of strategies that can be used to manage and overcome the dysfluency.



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