Stammering is a complex condition which affects individuals in different ways. Therefore it isn't possible to make a general recommendation about the best treatments - different approaches help different people.
Speech and language therapy can be available free under the NHS or you can see a therapist privately or take part in a low cost intensive course run by qualified therapists.
Where do I start?
We do suggest that you try to see a qualified speech and language therapist, at least in the first instance. A therapist who has experience of working with people who stammer will be able to offer you a range of different techniques. From these you can choose the techniques that you find most helpful (this might change over time) and the therapist will support you in the choice that you make. By contrast, people who offer alternative approaches tend to have just one technique which they offer to everyone, and this may not be right for you.
Tried? Try again...
Even if you had therapy when you were younger, and felt that you weren't helped, it is still worth trying again, because therapy may have changed, and you may have changed. Remember - it is worth persevering. It can take time to find the approach that is right for you, but many adults make huge improvements to their speech. You can also get help to feel better about your speech just as it is - for some people, self-acceptance can be just as important as fluent speech. Usually, the two approaches go hand in hand.
With any form of therapy, it's no doubt best, having made the decision to try it, to give it your best shot, rather than do it half-heartedly. If, in the end, it doesn't work for you, you can at least be assured that it wasn't for want of trying. All it means is that, at this point of time in your life, it is not the right approach for you. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
A cure for stammering?
We don't provide information about approaches which claim to cure stammering. This isn't because we're defeatist about stammering, but because we believe that the approaches which are most helpful in the long-term require on-going practice of technique to be become effective. For more thoughts on this, and for some general recommendations about questions to ask before paying for private therapy, see Is there a cure for stammering?
Where can I find a qualified speech and language therapist?
There are three ways in which you can see a qualified speech and language therapist:
- under the NHS,
- by taking part in a course at City Lit in London, an adult education centre with a specialist speech and language therapy department, or
Other courses and approaches
Beyond working with a qualified speech and language therapist, there is a wide range of alternative therapies and courses available for adults who stammer. Sometimes it takes determination to find something that is right for you - and it can be difficult to distinguish genuine from spurious help. Alternative approaches clearly help some people, but because stammering is such an individual condition, they are not right for everyone. We suggest you read our article Is there a cure for stammering? especially before committing yourself to spending a large amount of money.
- Two courses run by non-speech therapists and based on 'costal breathing' are the McGuire Programme and the Starfish Project.
- The Stammering self-empowerment programme, set by Paul Brocklehurst PhD, runs intensive courses and evening courses, mostly in Macclesfield and Manchester.
- The Kings Speakers in London is a public speaking group particularly for people who stammer, aimed at improving one's communication and leadership skills. Other public speaking groups round the country also welcome people who stammer.
- Other occasional workshops are shown on our events page.
Courses aimed particularly at the workplace include those offered by Talkcoach, and some of the courses offered by City Lit in London.
Electronic fluency devices
Electronic devices are available on the market which are intended to help people who stammer produce more fluent speech. They mostly use 'altered auditory feedback', playing back speech into one's ear with a delay and often at a different pitch.
Self-help and confidence building
The sharing and discussing of a problem with others who stammer can often prove helpful. There may be a self-help group in your area, or there are opportunities for support and discussion over the internet or by telephone. You can come to events such as BSA conferences and Open Days. There is also a lot of reading matter on stammering available.
For more, see our Self-help pages...