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Kimora & mum Laura

What To Do If Children's Therapy Isn't Working

Tips on what to do if you feel that therapy or a stammering course isn't working for your child.

Are you having doubts about the therapy or course your child is having? Not quite sure where it's going? Does it not feel like the right fit for them? Here are some tips for what you can do. 

Questions to ask yourself

First up, take a step back and think about what's not working:

  • What are your child's therapy goals? Does the speech & language therapist (SLT) share those goals? Goals can include all sorts of things. They can be learning to stammer in an easier way. Or managing thoughts and feelings around stammering, or increasing confidence. Or maybe it's speaking up more or learning to say what they want, when they want. Talk things through with your child and their therapist.
  • What are you expecting from therapy? Are you or your child looking for a cure? It's important to have this discussion early on with your therapist. Many children do stop stammering. But young adults and teenagers won't stop stammering altogether. See What is Stammering? for more information. However, therapy will help them manage stammering and how they think and feel about it.
  • Is your child not enjoying therapy? Does your child seem reluctant to go? If so, why? Depending on your child's age, ask for their opinion — are they finding it helpful?
  • Is it the therapy approach? Does it make sense to you? Has the therapist explained what they're doing and why?
  • Is it the relationship with the therapist? How your child gets along with the therapist will make all the difference. Sometimes they may not be the right fit. 
  • Is this the right time to have therapy? Is your child able to give therapy 100% commitment? Do they have the time to put into practice what they've been learning? Almost all therapy programmes require practise at home between sessions. This is normally about 5 to 10 minutes every day. If there are other things going on for them right now, you might need to prioritise those. Go back to therapy at another time when they have less going on.
  • Is therapy what you/your child needs right now? If your child is not particularly bothered by stammering, is this the right time for therapy? Would helping teachers, family members or friends understand about stammering be more useful? Why not show them our Guides For Non-stammerers. These will really help others to support your child.

What you can do

  • Talk through your concerns openly with the therapist and discuss what can be changed.
  • Talk to the manager of the service if needed — it might be possible to work with another therapist in the team.
  • Take a look at the different options available to you. See Options for Children (& Teenagers). Speech therapy is available on the NHS or privately, face-to-face or in some instances via video. Or there are stammering courses.
  • Speak to us. Call 0808 802 0002 or start a webchat. We're here to listen and to give you information and support.
  • Attend one of our online parent-led support groups or workshops. Email for details.

Other options

Contact the Action for Stammering Children helpline. You can speak to a speech & language therapist who specialises in stammering. Call 020 3316 8100, weekdays 9am-5pm.

Join an online group like the STAMMA Facebook group. Lots of parents are members there, so you could ask them questions. Or there's the UK Network of Parents for Children who Stammer Facebook group.

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Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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