Dysfluent talking, stammering and stuttering are ways to describe speech which is not flowing. There may be lots of pauses in the flow of speech, words and sounds might be repeated several times, or may sound ‘stretched out’.

Speech and language therapists offer support to children and young people from birth to 18 years where communication difficulties are impacting on their ability to fully participate in daily life.

Younger children

It’s normal for pre-school children to go through a period of dysfluent talking.

Sometimes, it may be hard for them to start off their words and sentences. They may experience frustration and sensitivity about their talking.

They may repeat words or phrases or use lots of interceptions e.g. ‘um’ as they sort out what they are trying to say. This usually coincides with rapid bursts of development.

It would be a good idea to contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service for an initial assessment and advice if:

  • Your child is very aware of their struggles with talking and/or
  • Your child has been dysfluent for more than 12 months and/or
  • Your child often gets stuck or repeats words and/or
  • The stammering seems to be getting worse over time

School aged children

Older children and young people may also experience dysfluent talking. Some children are happy with the way they speak and are able to manage their stammer well in ways they have discovered for themselves.

Others benefit from ideas and practice of ways to improve their fluency and communication skills from a speech and language therapist.

Some young people ask for help at ‘pressure points’ during their school life, such as participation in speaking activities in school. The speech and language therapy service can also help in these situations.

Guidance and helpful information

Encouraging communication skills from a young age is very important. You can help and support your child’s communication as you do everyday activities and play together.

If you think your child has difficulties with their fluency, please use the toolkits below and look at the web links to the right.


How we can help

Speech and language therapists will work with you to identify your child’s stammering behaviours, helping you both to understand them and make changes to help. We work to maximise their potential and enable your child to communicate well in everyday situations.

Following an initial assessment, the speech and language therapist will design an individual treatment plan to best manage the child’s difficulties. This will depend on the child’s age, personality, family situation, own personal goals for their talking and other factors.

What happens next?

If you think your child has difficulties with speech, language or communication, please initially use the toolkits above and look at the web links to the right. These toolkits will give you ideas to support and encourage your child’s development.

If you continue to have concerns, please discuss these with your health visitor, early years practitioner, your child’s teacher or GP.