Help for a child who stammers.
We've listed the therapy options below. Some are delivered by registered speech & language therapists, and others are not. We've made it clear which ones fall into each category.
Our Guide to Therapy Options explains more about the different approaches. You can also download our information leaflets for pre-school children or school-aged children. Or order free copies at our shop.
*NHS services might be limited because of Covid-19. Some are providing assessments and therapy by phone or video call only.
Contact your local NHS service to see if they offer speech & language therapy. It's free but you need to be registered with a GP. Not everywhere has a service for children.
To find your local NHS therapist, follow the instructions below. Or use our webchat/helpline and we'll talk you through it.
- Go onto Google, or an alternative search engine.
- Search for 'Child NHS speech and language therapy + the name of your area' (for example, if you live in Birmingham, search for 'Child NHS speech and language therapy Birmingham').
- Look on their website for a telephone number or email address.
- Contact them and ask to make an appointment.
For school-age children, NHS services sometimes only accept referrals via the school. If this is the case, contact the school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They can tell you how the process works.
If there's a long waiting list or if there is no service where you live
Has your local NHS service told you there's a long waiting list, or that it's not available where you live? If so, the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering can give you a funded assessment and general advice. They don't fund therapy but the assessment and advice can be useful if you can't access local support. Check out the Michael Palin Centre's website for more information.
If you can afford it, private therapy might be an option for you. Ask therapists about their experience working with children who stammer before choosing one.
Cost: Sessions with a private speech & language therapist vary, but may range between £70 and £125. This depends on the therapist's experience, what's included, or regional variation. A first session is likely to be more expensive. This is because they'll spend extra time gathering information.
Finding a private therapist:
Go to the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice website
Or phone them on 0203 002 3704.
The Roberta Williams Speech & Language Therapy Centre, based at City University in London, offers 5-day speech therapy courses for ages 8 to 19. Run by speech & language therapists, they focus on helping children to:
- become less bothered about stammering
- develop communication skills
- build confidence in social situations and giving presentations.
Cost: £150. Some places are funded by Action for Stammering Children.
The Fluency Trust, based in Swindon, runs courses for ages 10 to 17 every July. Courses combine speech therapy with outdoor activities like climbing, abseiling, kayaking and surfing. They aim to help children develop confidence and manage stammering. Courses are run by specialist speech & language therapists.
Cost: Free (funded by the Fluency Trust charity or the NHS). Or you can choose to fund yourself.
*Currently running courses online via video call
The Michael Palin Centre, based in London, offers a range of individual and group therapy. It's run by specialist speech & language therapists. If you don't live in London it also offers therapy via video call, called 'teletherapy'.
Cost: If there is no NHS service for children who stammer in your area, you may be able to get funding via your GP or you can pay yourself. See information about the Centre's funded assessment clinic above, under 'NHS Therapy'.
The Starfish Project courses teache techniques to help gain control of speech and increase confidence. Techniques include costal breathing, reducing avoidance and developing a positive attitude. (For more details on costal breathing see our Guide to Therapy Options.)
It is now holding virtual courses for young people aged 11 to 16.
These new virtual courses are one-to-one, via video call. A parent will need to be present at all times to help learn the technique and provide support. Each course lasts two days. They are run by its founder, Anne Blight, assisted by experienced Starfish technique users. They are not speech & language therapists. But, they consider their personal experience with stammering a significant qualification.
Cost: £250, excluding hotel costs. Free lifetime support and refresher courses.
Above are the main stammering therapies and courses for children in the UK. You might come across others online or elsewhere that aren't on our list. To safeguard against untested or unqualified providers, we recommend choosing a therapy, programme or course which:
- offers realistic expectations of change and NOT an offer of a cure or a way of 'stopping' stammering
- provides clear and unambiguous information about the rationale, cost, duration and commitment needed
- is neutral and unbiased, and does not pose stammering as a misfortune or an affliction
- recognises the need to accept one's stammer at some level, to help speech and/or attitudinal change
- is nationally recognised as empowering people to manage their stammering more easily. We judge this based on a number of things including an organisation's track record over time, peer reviews and feedback.
If you're unsure of anything you see, get in touch with us by using our webchat or helpline.
Support & Resources
See our For Parents page, which has helpful information, tips and videos.
Our School page has help for your child at school.
If you need support or a friendly chat, talk to someone on our support team by using our webchat or helpline.
We've also got a library, where you can borrow a range of books and DVDs.
Find online support groups and forums for parents or guardians at our Connect section. You'll also find links to our social media there.
See our Your Voice section, where you can read articles by parents about their experiences. Why not write an article yourself and help encourage other parents? See our Share Your Story page to find out how.
Keep up to date with our events and services and become a member. It's free and only takes 30 seconds to sign up. Just fill in the short form on our Become a Member page.
If you have a service you'd like us to include here, download and read our Guidelines below. They explain our criteria for including a therapy or course on our website. Then download and complete the Approaches for therapies & courses form and return it to email@example.com Requests will be reviewed by our Service Panel.