Under 5's

Basic information for parents of under 5's

It can be a bit of a shock when your child suddenly starts to stammer. This page outlines the basic information you need to know.

We still don't quite understand why a particular child starts to stammer at a particular time in his or her language development. We do know, however, it's not the parents who are causing it.

We have tried, with the help of researchers, to come up with what we know about What causes Stammering.

About 5% of children will go through a stammering phase when they develop language. Most of them will recover fluent speech without any intervention necessary.

However, one in five will be at risk of persistent stammering; early intervention as soon as possible after onset has the best chance of success. BSA would urge any parent concerned about their child's speech to seek advice from your nearest NHS Speech Therapy Department - contact the BSA Helpline for their details.

It is not easy to distinguish those children who will recover naturally from those who may need additional help - speech therapists will make an assessment and will form a judgment based on risk factors. For example, they will ask if there is anyone else in the child's family who stammers.

Finding a therapist

To get details of your local NHS speech and language therapy service, contact our Helpline.

For private speech and language therapists you can search on the ASLTIP website, www.helpwithtalking.com. You should use the 'Advanced search' option and specify a therapist with particular expertise in 'Stammering'. 

There is more on therapy and therapists, both NHS and private, in our leaflet Speech and language therapy - information for parents of children who stammer.

More information

We suggest you look at our leaflets which give more information, including tips to help support your child. Another leaflet deals with bilingual children. If you prefer, you can get the leaflets as an Information Pack.

You can connect with other parents of children who stammer through Facebook: see Social media and self-help for pre-school parents.

Our Expert Parent website has information on early years education.