What is stammering? some key facts
- Stuttering and stammering are two words for the same thing. tAnother term used mainly by speech and language therapists is 'dysfluency'
- Stammering is a disruption to the natural flow of speech
- 1% of the population stammers. Stammering occurs across all cultures, races and social groups
- More men than women stammer - the ratio is about 4:1
- Stammering usually starts in early childhood. Approximately 5% of children stammer.
- Stammering not only affects speech - it is likely to lead to feelings and emotions such as frustration, anxiety, lack of self confidence, and embarrassment
- People who stammer often avoid problem words or difficult speaking situations
- There is no known single cause of stammering. It sometimes runs in families
- We believe there is no real cure for stammering, but therapy can lead to significant change both in terms of feelings and fluency
The stammering iceberg
Joseph Sheehan, a famous American speech therapist who stammered himself, likened stammering to an iceberg. We find this a useful way of describing stammering because it acknowledges both the 'outside'/external stammering behaviours and the more internal, emotional/avoidance related aspects. The iceberg image also suggests that for most people who stammer the bigger part of the problem is often the part that others don't see i.e. the feelings, thoughts and avoidances.