Study: Feasibility of Palin Stammering Therapy for School Children (8-14)

25th June 2021

A team at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering (MPC) are looking for speech & language therapists (SLTs) to participate in a feasibility trial exploring a new stammering therapy for 8 to 14 year olds.

Background & purpose

Sharon Millard & Georgia Mills from MPC say, "While there's a clear need for effective stammering therapy, there is little research evidence to support intervention with children between the ages of 8-14. Many SLTs say they lack knowledge and confidence in how to support children who stammer of this age.  

'The Michael Palin Centre has developed 'Palin Stammering Therapy for School Children' (Palin STSC (8-14)). For it to be widely available, and for families and therapists to feel confident using it, we want to explore its effectiveness compared with regular speech & language therapy for children."

What will it involve?

If you're a speech & language therapist and you want to take part, you'll firstly be asked to complete an online questionnaire taking around 5 to 10 mins. You'll then be randomly allocated to deliver either Palin STSC or your service's usual treatment. You will be asked to identify two to four children who stammer and are aged between 8-14 years, to work with during the trial. Parents or guardians will need to consent to participate in the trial. 

The Palin STSC (8-14) therapy programme consists of a child assessment, a parent interview and 10 sessions of weekly therapy which last around an hour per session. At the end of the study you'll be asked to complete another online questionnaire.

Who can take part?

The team are looking for new NHS sites from England and Wales to take part in the trial. To be eligible, sites must have a speech & language therapy service which receives referrals for children who stammer and are aged between 8 and 14 years. 

SLTs from participating sites can take part. You do not need to have any previous experience of working with children who stammer, but you must identify at least two children to take part.

How will it benefit people who stammer?

Sharon and Georgia say, "With this research, we want to find out:

  • Whether we can conduct a large-scale randomised control trial into how effective Palin STSC (8-14) is when delivered in services outside of the Michael Palin Centre. 
  • Whether it is more effective than the treatment children would normally receive and whether it's worth the cost. This study is the first step in this process. 
  • If SLTs and families will engage in the research and the therapy and what their experiences are.

'This is a critical part of the research process. If we can run this study successfully, we will be able to seek funding for a full-scale research study. That would provide families and SLTs with the evidence they require to access/provide an effective therapy and to access this more easily without the need for more expensive specialist services in the first instance."

When does it start and finish?

Sharon and Georgia are recruiting SLTs from participating sites until 31st October 2021. Eligible families can start therapy as part of the trial until 3rd December 2021. The trial is actively looking for new sites and can open in NHS Trusts in England and Wales until 30th September 2021. 


If you would like to take part, please email Georgia at 

This research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit Programme. Victoria Joffe, Lorna Rixon, Suzanne Murphy and Norwich Clinical Trials Unit are also part of the research team.

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