Learn all about the causes of stammering and how its treated…
What Is Stammering?
STAMMA describe it as: “Stammering or stuttering is a way of talking, a physical condition which makes it difficult to talk”
Someone who stammers may repeat or get stuck on a sound or word, such as “d-d-d-d-og”. It can also be called stuttering, although we use the term stammering in the UK. It’s a neurological condition and can affect everyone differently.
What Causes Stammering?
No-one really knows. Stammering is often hereditary. 60% of people who stammer have a family member who stammers. A stammer may appear in childhood and then disappear but if it continues into adulthood, then it’s likely to last a lifetime. STAMMA say, “Around 8%* of children, boys and girls, will go through a short period of stammering between the ages of two and five. Short means months rather than years. The stammer may come and go during childhood, but if it continues into adulthood, then it’s likely to be a lifelong condition. Up to 3%* of adults in the UK say that they stammer.”
A massive misconception is that stammering is caused by anxiety. Not so. It’s easy to see why people might assume this to be the case because we’ve all stumbled over words when we’ve felt nervous, but stammering is not caused by nerves. It’s also not caused by shyness or low intelligence – these are complete myths.
Who Is Affected By Stammering?
Stammering mainly affects men and can affect every ethnicity. It can vary from person to person and can come and go – a person may have periods in their life when they stammer less and times when they stammer more.
Is There A Cure?
Speech therapy is often used to help people manage their stammer but there’s no cure for it. Some people will dedicate a lot of time and hard work to therapies and interventions to manage their stammer while others are quite comfortable to stammer. It depends on the individual and what’s best for them.
How To Talk To Someone Who Stammers
STAMMA have lots of great tips on how to speak to someone who stammers. These handy ‘dos & don’t include’:
- Tell them to slow down, breathe or relax.
- Interrupt or speak over them.
- Try to guess what they’re about to say.
Certain situations can put more pressure on a person who stammers. This could be having to talk over a noisy background, talking in front of others or speaking on the telephone.
- Be patient and listen.
- Keep eye contact.
- Ask if there’s any way you can make things easier for them.
No Diversity Without Disfluency
This International Stammering Awareness Day, STAMMA have launched a new campaign called #NoDiversityWithoutDisfluency and are pushing to see and hear more stammering voices on TV, radio and in films. They want to normalise stammering so people who stammer aren’t met with surprise, negativity, or prejudice. To sign the STAMMA petition and get involved on their social media, click here.