Also described as stuttering, dysfluency or non- fluency, stammering usually starts between the ages of two and five. Around 5% of children will experience some difficulty with fluency of speech at some point. Stammering is also more common in boys than in girls and can run in families.

Characteristics of stammering - you may notice your child:

  • Appears to get stuck when trying to talk
  • Repeats whole words, e.g. 'But ,but, but'
  • Repeats some sounds, e.g. 'Ccc can you'
  • Prolongs or stretches out sounds, e.g. 'Ssssssssssssock'
  • Exaggerates taking a breath before talking or appears to stop mid sentence
  • Makes other body movements whilst trying to talk, such as tapping their hand on their leg, stamping their foot or nodding their head.

Things you can do:

  • Try slowing down your speech when talking to your child, rather than asking them to slow down or to start again
  • Keep making eye contact with your child whilst they are talking, so they know you are listening
  • Use the same sentence length as your child
  • Try not to ask too many questions or try put them on the spot.


You can obtain more information and advice from the STAMMA website (previously known as the British Stammering Association)


If you think your child is stammering, it is important to seek help as early as possible - go to our 'How to request support' page