Help for teenagers who stammer.
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.
*NHS services might be limited because of Covid-19. Some are providing assessments and therapy by video call.
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 young people.
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 'Teenage NHS speech and language therapy + the name of your area' (for example, if you live in Birmingham, search for 'Teenage 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.
Some NHS services only accept referrals through your, or your child's, 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's no service where you live
Has your local NHS service told you there's a long waiting list for therapy, 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 itself can be useful if you can’t get 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 if they have experience working with teenagers 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 18. Run by speech & language therapists, courses focus on helping young people to:
- become less bothered about stammering
- develop communication skills
- build confidence in social situations and giving presentations.
Cost: £150 per young person. Some places are funded by Action for Stammering Children.
The Fluency Trust, based in Swindon, runs a 'Teens Challenge' course for ages 13 to 17 every July. Courses combine speech therapy with outdoor activities like climbing, abseiling, kayaking and surfing. It aims to help young people develop confidence and manage stammering.
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's no NHS service in your area, you may be able to apply for funding for therapy 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 teach 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.)
Courses are run by its founder, Anne Blight. People who have done the course before give one-to-one training. They are not speech & language therapists. But, they consider their personal experience with stammering a significant qualification.
*Update The Starfish Project is now running virtual courses for young people throughout the Covid pandemic. 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 virtual course lasts 2 days.
Cost: £250 (excluding hotel costs for courses for ages 16+). Free lifetime support and refresher courses.
Talking Out is a 5-day course based in Yorkshire for teenagers. It combines therapy with outdoor activities like rock climbing, mountain biking and canoeing. It's run by specialist speech & language therapists. Courses aim to help develop confidence and a more positive attitude to speaking.
*Due to Covid-19, Talking Out has launched an online course. This combines speech & language therapy, individual challenges and one-to-one work.
Cost: Free (fully funded by Action for Stammering Children)
Above are the main stammering therapies and courses for teenagers in the UK. You might come across others online 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, in order 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, 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.
We've also got a library (when it reopens).
Find online support groups and forums for ages 13+ or for parents or guardians, at our Connect section.You'll also find links to our social media there.
See our Your Voice section. It's packed with articles by young people and 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.
If you're 16+ and based in the UK, keep up to date with our events and services and become a member. It's free and only takes 30 seconds to sign up. You just have to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Requests will be reviewed by our Service Panel.