Stammering is when the forward flow of speech gets interrupted. This can include the repetition of sounds or short words, stretching of sounds (known as prolongations), or speech ‘blocks’ when no sound comes out. There might also be some movements in the face and body. Stammering typically starts between the ages of two and five years old but it can begin later. Sometimes adults start stammering after trauma such as a head injury or stroke.
As well as the outward features of stammering, the experience of stammering can be difficult. People talk about feelings of shame, anxiety, or embarrassment, and they describe how stammering can stop them from living their lives the way they want to.
Stammering is complex, with a range of neurological, genetic, environmental and emotional factors involved. For that reason, everyone’s stammering is different in terms of the outward features and the impact it can have.