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Childhood stammer advice.

Apologies if this is a bit out of the ordinary for this forum but I have pretty much run out of ideas as to where to turn to next for help.

I have a 9 year old son who has had a mild stammer ever since he started to speak, he has days when it is better or worse but it is always there and it makes things more difficult for him than they need to be.
We took him to a speech therapist as soon as it became obvious he had a problem but to be honest she was next to useless and could only suggest all the common sense things we were obviously already trying, and despite taking him to her every week for several months there was no improvement, this was a couple of years ago and currently he getting no professional help.

I am hoping that someone in here has either experience of a similar issue or can recommend some technique or routine that might help him, I know that there are self help programmes such as "The McGuire Programme" which can have good results and I have checked out the different organisation websites but my son is too young to attend these yet and I don't want to sit about waiting when I might be able to get him so constructive help now.

Thanks in advance.
Getting him into a choir or some singing lessons (initially without words) might help, oddly enough. Or music in general if that's no good (something to do with rhythmn).
I suffered from a stammer from an early age and still suffer in a mild form. All the usual help and remedies were tried with some limited success, however the real break through and improvement came in my 20s when self confidence/maturity etc kicked in. Unfortunately this seems to be the way ahead for most sufferers , a case of 'hurry up and wait'. Interestingly when I meet someone with a stammer/stutter I start a conversation in normal voice procedure and end up talking to them in a stammer - this has been taken by some as a impolite 'piss take', with the resultant offer of violence! e.g. Are you takkingking king king king king thee thheee piss piss mate ?. Oh for an easy life. Hang on in there, nature and time will improve things
very-old-git said:
I suffered from a stammer from an early age and still suffer in a mild form. All the usual help and remedies were tried with some limited success, however the real break through and improvement came in my 20s when self confidence/maturity etc kicked in. Unfortunately this seems to be the way ahead for most sufferers , a case of 'hurry up and wait'. Interestingly when I meet someone with a stammer/stutter I start a conversation in normal voice procedure and end up talking to them in a stammer - this has been taken by some as a impolite 'urine take', with the resultant offer of violence! e.g. Are you takkingking king king king king thee thheee urine urine mate ?. Oh for an easy life. Hang on in there, nature and time will improve things
I agree with this.

Confidence plays a major part in being able to speak fluently, I've had a stammer since I was a child. I can pretty much control it but there are certain words that I sometimes avoid when you feel as though your going to stammer, as very-old-git suggests it's a matter of experience through the years that you learn what works for you.

I've been to speech therapy classes and hypnotherapy, both had varying degrees of success, although never actually stopped it completely.

There is a project called 'The StarFish Project', visit http://www.starfishproject.co.uk/ for more information - there are courses for adults and children, I have never booked on one of their courses, but I know they are very popular and many sufferer of stammering come out of it with the skills and ability to speak fluently.

It's just a matter of building up your sons confidence with his stammer and learning techniques, he will be nervous and shy at this young age, but after awhile if he persists he will overcome the feelings of nervousness to lead a normal life.

Hope this helps!
Thank you guys, I guess that my hope is that as he gets a little older he will have more control over his speech but you are definitely right when you say that it has a lot to do with his confidence, obviously at home is it not an issue but he has just started a new school and so is getting the usual playground idiots taking the p*ss which I find hard to tolerate but we will deal with that via the school, quietly to start with and then see what happens.
Luckily he has the right personality to deal with the issue but I still worry that it bothers him more than he lets on and that his confidence takes a knock, despite our best efforts at home.

Thanks again for sharing your own experiences.
When I made the transition from prep to senior school I was subjected to some amazing bullying because of my stammer and being small had little physical opportunity to redress the balance. However in the second year a guy turned up with stammer much worse than mine, about twice my size and with an attitude of 'dont mess with me!' Needless to say after a couple of attempts at ridicule , the bullies retreated. On the good side having a stammer means that you are the last person to be nominated for reading out aloud, translation from Latin to English and taking the register.
My army career was not in any way hindered, except orders group took abit longer - counting 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 check canopy surprisingly came out rather fast and without stammer!.
To be honest, apart from informing the teachers about your sons stammer, there really isn't much you can do regarding the bullying - apart from helping your son to prepare for it or speaking to their parents or perhaps beating the crap out of the little scrotes :), like very-old-git, I was subjected to the usual ridicule, it was more mental than anything else, also when the song 'stutter rap' came out I think in the early 90's, it made the situation even worse.

The best thing for your son to do will be to make lots of friends which I'm sure he has, eventually his friends will become used to it and hopefully stick up for your son when needed - I had some good mates like that.

Seriously consider the 'star fish project' as I'm sure it will be alot of help, apart from learning techniques to calm the stammer, your son will make friends in the same situation which will be very good support.

There are quite a few famous people who have stammers, so it may be useful to show them to your son that he is in league with the greats :lol:

have alook: http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/famous/famouspws.html

just a few to get you started, Field Marshall Lord Carver, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Samuel L Jackson etc... plenty more via the web link!
Thanks guys, he does have plenty of friends and the it is only the odd individual who thinks it is funny to poke fun at him, I suppose its just that when any of your kids need help and you find that despite your best efforts you can't resolve the problem it is immensely frustrating and can be upsetting at times.

As he gets older it becomes a little easier explaining to him what is going on and we are planning on attending these sessions such as the "Starfish Project" as soon as he is eligible (some of them don't begin until the age of 12)

As I said previously home life and reassurance isn't an issue, it is mainly school and just trying to help him be more confident when he away from home that we are trying to work on at the moment.

Thanks again guys.
We had a SNCO with a stammer, only showed up when he was tired and especially when he was upset/angry/aggressive/drunk (which seemed to be most of the time) weirdly he could sing (well he thought he was singing) and everything was fine. He didn't appreciate morris minor and the majors on the karaoke machine though.

You should have heard him attempt to take drill though....

We got the bloke doing some breathing exercises as well as the singing, and his anger management course helped too. Listening to him breathing heavily was definitely better than listening to him sing.

edited to add

A friends kid had a stammer which tended to show when he was excited and/or trying to talk too fast. He used to get upset that he couldn't get his words out when made things worse. He was lucky as it was fairly mild so making him stop, take a deep breath and start again was generally all that was needed.
and as if by magic - there is a device that may just help, but its expensive.

BBC page of much information

Echo earpiece to help stammerers

An earpiece which helps people with a stammer is being rolled out in the north of England.

The device, which is not yet available on the NHS but is being used by doctors in Greater Manchester, sends out an echo of the users voice as they speak.

This "choral effect" tricks the brain into thinking there is another person speaking in unison with the stammerer, unblocking the impediment.

The British Stammering Association is also piloting a similar device.

Doctors in the hearing centre at BMI The Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle are using the SpeechEasy implant which costs about £3,000.

A similar device called VoiceAmp is currently being trialled by members of the British Stammering Association and costs about £1,250.
I had never heard of that before I guess it would help the most severe cases that find self help very difficult, nice find mate.
Josh Mills....

I stammered badly as a younger guy but do alright now. I found that I knew what I was trying to say but all the words arrived at the same time and just couldn't get out! A big trick for me then was to just stop and start again.

I still get it now if drunk or excited... much to the amusement of my F-F-F-Friends!

I can't believe that it took 12 posts before someone cracked a joke :)
"JoshMills".. This isn't the NAAFI, and Double Duck is a worried father. So fcuk off. Now.

DD. Can I suggest, if you've not done so, that you have a look at the British Stammering Association website, at advice for parents

It also has links to the various therapies. However, it's important to accept that your son will never be cured, as there is no cure. It affects 1% of the population and 75% are male - these stats occur in every country that have measured it. This and some convincing research into brain activity patterns in stammerers says it's genetic in cause, rather than what the ill-informed (have you fcuked off yet Josh Mills?) would believe that it's behavioural ("nervous disposition" etc).

I'll get to the point, but consider this first.... "Disability" isn't the condition, it's the effects of that condition on you. The effects are from the limitations imposed: in a flat, one-storey world where everyone has a wheel-chair no-one in a wheelchair is disabled. In this case the bullying at school, the self-imposed avoidances, etc are the limitations. In a youngster they can be crippling and set the trend for life.

Why is this important? Because the disabling effects of the stammer aren't the inability to get certain words etc out, it's the effects of this - the social embarressment and shame, and the trends of behaviour that result - the avoidance of situations, people, etc etc. THAT is the stammer. Accepting that, essentially, there's fcuk all you can do about it is the only way to start to overcome those behaviours.

This is the common link between all therapies - and it's the most important. But - while there is no cure, it can be controlled, and the McGuire and Starfish courses teach costal breathing techniques which overcome the blocks. For someone to be able to move on to the overcoming the real problems, this is a real leg-up. Back to the 'acceptance' bit - the breathing technique is perhaps 10% of the therapy: the other 90% is mental attitude. I've heard very, very bad reports about McGuire and only praise for Starfish, from people who've done both. Starfish's founder, Anne Blight, actually used to work with McGuire, and parted as she didn't like his philosophy (all sticks, no carrots, if that's not simplifying it too much). Give her a call - 01825 767268

How do I know? I have one. For years it ruled my existence - how not to be 'outed' as a stammerer ruled everything I did. Now I'm up-front with it, sometimes I stammer, sometimes I don't, if I do I can control it, mostly, and ...... it doesn't really matter to me - or, this was the surprise, to anyone else I meet.

I have kids too and can imagine what you are going through. I work in a rehabilitation hospital in the US that has an extensive pediatric rehab program.

I forwarded your post to a good friend of mine who happens to be a very very good Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist. I'm sure she may have some more questions like what did the other therapist ask you to do, etc. Perhaps there is a difference between how the therapies are handled between the two countries and perhaps give you something else to try?

Worth a shot at least.
i stammer and have done most of my life,i,ve tried many things,hypnotism,breathing exercises and many more "cures".i can,t say anything really worked long term,hypnotism worked for a few weeks but i quickly resorted back to stuttering.

i,ve almost mastered it these days,only lapsing when really bladdered or if very flustered.i just try and think of what i,m going to say and get my breathing as normal as possible,many people don,t even know i stutter but i know i,m not cured and i have to keep concentrating on my technique.

my advise would be to try getting him to think of what he,s going to say and get his breathing exercises sorted out.just re assure him and try not to see your anguish while he,s around.i wish you well,by the way i didn,t find speech therapist,s very helpful either. good luck.
I was going to put a lengthy post here but stabtastic not only got there first but did it much better than I could have.

Nothing gets me more annoyed than when people think that a stammer is caused by a nervous disposition or 'lack of confidence' I stammer just as much in front of friends and family as I do in unfamiliar and stressful situations. There are many different types and degrees of stammer - techniques that work for one may not work for another.

The best advice I can offer DD apart from seeking professional advice is to never let anyone ignore your child if they find it difficult to converse with him - some people will try and avoid talking to stammerers as they make them uncomfortable - this is not only rude but very unhelpful and some people need polite correction.

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