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Past UserPast User Posts: 1,998 Extreme Poster
edited November 2020 in Health & Wellbeing
Hey guys!

A few weeks ago my English teacher asked me how best she could support me with my stammer. We ended up having a really long conversation about it, and I found out that she didn't know much about stammering at all. She's awesome and was really open to finding out more but the whole conversation got me thinking about stammering and the fact that it's not really spoken about much. So I just wanted to write this wee somethin' somethin' about stammering and how to support someone who stammers.

What is a stammer?
A stammer is a speech impediment which sometimes makes speaking incredibly difficult. Someone who stammers might repeat sounds (li li li liam), they might make sounds longer (llllllllliam)  or their words might get blocked and no sound comes out at all. The severity of a stammer can differ from person to person, day to day, or sentence to sentence. Sometimes I can speak fluently for hours upon hours and then suddenly I'm stammering again or totally unable to speak.  
People might stammer more when they're excited, tired, stressed out, feeling under pressure, self-conscious, or rushed. Talking on the phone can also be very difficult and therefore can cause a person to stammer more. Stammering isn't caused by stress or anxiety however stress and anxiety can make a stammer worse.

Can it be cured?
Sometimes stammers go away by themselves or with the help of speech therapy however, if stammering carries on into adulthood it's likely here to stay forever, although this is not always the case.  There is no cure for stammering however there is therapy/counseling which can help people to accept their stammers and the acceptance will then hopefully help make talking a little easier.

How does stammering affect someone?
I can't speak for everyone however I can share from my own experience. For me, my stammer makes every day feel like an obstacle course. Is my stammer going to be bad today? Am I going to be able to hang around with and talk to my friends at lunch? Is my teacher going to make us read out loud? Am I going to embarrass myself? ... My stammer is my biggest insecurity and although it's not something I try to hide (i talk... like.. ALOT) it is something that I feel embarrassed about. I struggle at school, during registration, or whenever I'm asked to answer a question out loud. I struggle to tell people what I want and sometimes I find it difficult just to have normal conversations. It's sometimes hard to order meals or coffee, to talk on the phone, or even just using Siri/Alexa

What might be difficult for people who stammer?
  • Meeting new people 
  • Introducing themselves
  • Job interviews 
  • New environments 
  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking when there's a queue behind them
  • Making orders, restaurant, take away, coffee shop, bar, etc.
  • Talking above background noise,
  • Talking when others can overhear
  • Going to parties or social events
  • Zoom calls/meetings/facetime
  • School registration 
There are lots of different things which are made more difficult for a person who stammers, however that's not to say that everyone who stammers finds the above situations difficult.

How to talk to and support someone who stammers

Talking to someone who is stammering might feel uncomfortable but know that it's more uncomfortable for the stammering person. Try to be patient and listen as if you would to anyone else.
  • Try not to interrupt or talk over them
  • Please don't guess or try to finish their sentences
  • Try to avoid making jokes such as "Spit it out" or "Did you forget your name?"
  • Focus on what the person is saying and not how they're saying it
  • Try to keep eye contact
  • Be patient
  • Avoid advice, don't tell them to "slow down", "calm down", " don't be nervous", etc. 
  • Realize that talking over the phone might be difficult, sometimes texting is better
  • If you phone someone who stammers and hear nothing straight away, give them time
  • Ask them how/if you can make it easier for them
  • Know that someone who stammers still know exactly what they want to say, they're just figuring out how best to say it.
  • If you're in a group conversation with someone who you know stammers, ask if they'd like to speak and invite them into the conversation 
I think the best way to support someone who stammers is to just treat them like any other person but still understanding that certain situations can be a little more difficult for them. Patience is also super important. I had someone walk away from me mid-sentence once 🙃. It can feel rubbish when you're being treated differently just because of your speech impediment.

Hope this is a wee bit helpful for yous :) 

"Those with a stammer have the unique opportunity to teach the world to listen"

AidanLainePast UserZenDandelionindependent_Ed_LorryTruck_Tech_Addict_GirlMikeAzziman


  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 3,029 Boards Guru
    Liam said:
    "Those with a stammer have the unique opportunity to teach the world to listen"

    Listen is an anagram of silent, which is what you should be when someone with a stammer is talking ;)

    Great thread Liam pal!
    but idk tho
    Past User
  • LaineLaine Fruit loop Gone for gooPosts: 2,767 Account Deactivated
    Lovely thread! Definitely agree with finishing sentences and speaking over them, people do that a lot sometimes.
    One lecturer would always finish my friends sentences for her, she made her words longer.

    We could all do with being more patient and understanding in this world :)

    🌈Positive thoughts🌈

    "This is my family. I found it, all on my own.
    It's little, and Broken, but still good. Yeah. Still good." ~ Stitch

    "Lately, I've been struggling with all the simple things in my life" ~ Cian Ducrot

    "I don't know if it's because my heart hurts or I'm insecure" ~ Juice Wrld
    Past User
  • StephanieStephanie Posts: 859 Super Moderator
    Hey Liam :heart:

    Just wanted to say this thread is so lovely to start and I reckon it's going to help a lot of people. :smile:
                                   "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light" 

    - Albus Dumbledore 

    "Like when I was down you just had that smile that made me feel like everything's worthwhile. Thinking of the day when you went away, what a life to take, what a bond to break, I'll be missing you"

    LainePast User
  • ZenZen Living the Zen life 🧘🏼‍♀️ Posts: 1,993 Extreme Poster
    I love this @liam ❤️ Allowing people to understand and educate themselves on stammering is the first step to seeing change! 
    Alis propriis volat 
    Past User
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 1,998 Extreme Poster
    aw fanxx pals 

    Laine said:
    One lecturer would always finish my friends sentences for her, she made her words longer.

    I get this a lot @Laine ..  my mam is always doing it and she usually gets what I want to say wrong lol
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,807 Master Poster
    This thread is really interesting, thank you for posting it @Liam <3 

    I didn't know much about this myself so it's been a really good read and taught me a lot!
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
    Past User
  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruPosts: 351 Moderator
    Thank you for creating and sharing this with us!  It's very interesting and enlightening. It's also lovely to hear how your teacher asked how she can support you with your stammer :)
    Past User
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 1,998 Extreme Poster
    Thank you guys for giving it a read !

    @Maisy @independent_

  • _Tech_Addict_Girl_Tech_Addict_Girl Posts: 1,073 Wise Owl
    This is a good thread @Liam Well Done! :)<3
    Past User
  • MikeMike 🖥️🎧 LandaanPosts: 3,525 Community Manager
    Absolutely love this thread @Liam. As a fellow stammer-er, I found myself nodding to every single point you made here. I love how all those points are also just good rules for having a respectful, inclusive, considerate conversation with someone - stammer or no stammer. :)

    I had someone walk away from me mid-sentence once 🙃

    Glad it's not just me! I tend to block so I'm not sure if people genuinely think I'm finished or if they're just impatient, but I've had this a few times in person and on the phone. Nightmare.

    Also props to you for being able to talk to your teacher about it. Not something I ever felt comfortable with while I was at school - kudos for being vulnerable and having the courage. :)
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.

    Want to join the community champions? Drop @TheMix a message!
    Past User
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 891 Part of The Mix Family
    This is such a great thread, thank you so much for sharing @Liam :smile: I love that your teacher asked how they could best support you, you deserve that! And think it's a brilliant idea to share this understanding with others. I'm sure this can help a lot of people, both people who experience stammers and people who would like to support others. Thank you! 
    Past User
  • Millie2787Millie2787 🐶 💜 Posts: 4,072 Community Veteran
    Hey ! 

    I’m exactly the same to though mine is more when I’m anxious or stressed , I did a lot of SALT when I was younger so it’s not as noticeable unless my anxiety is high which at that point I kinda don’t talk to people 😂

    when I speak I find that I get so caught up on fact of trying not to stammer that I completely forgot what I was going to say ! 

    Have you seen the Young lad on educating Yorkshire mushuraf his name one who has a bad stammer and his English teacher found a way for him to be able to do his English speaking exam and he also gave a speech Infront of his year group simply by the teacher giving him some headphones and music he was about to almost fluently speak 
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
    Past User
  • DancerDancer Bog Off Justine! Posts: 5,617 Part of The Furniture
    My dad has a stammer.  This is an amazing post. Well done Liam.
    I'm a fruit loop. 🍊➰

    There's a part of me I can't get back.  A little girl grew up too fast. All it took was once. I'll never be the same.
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