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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Stuttering in teenagers

Kikikiki ki ngā rangatahi

Stuttering is an interruption to the flow of your speech that you cannot control. It is also called stammering.

Stuttering can happen in different ways, such as:

We do not know exactly what causes stuttering. We think it is caused by problems in the part of your brain that produces speech. It may also be partly genetic, as stuttering often runs in families.

About 1% of the population stutters. It usually develops in childhood and may come and go as you get older. If you experience any interruptions in your speech, you may have a stutter. Types of interruptions include repetitions, prolongations and blockages.

Diagnosing stuttering in teenagers

Only a qualified speech-language therapist or paediatrician can diagnose stuttering. There is no simple test your doctor can use.

Treating stuttering in teenagers

Several treatments are available for rangatahi (teenagers) who stutter. Your speech-language therapist will choose the best one to meet your needs.

Self-care for stuttering in teenagers

There are several things you and your family can do to help reduce the impact of your stuttering.

You may be avoiding speaking situations. If so, it is a great idea to see a speech-language therapist who has experience in working with rangatahi to find out how they can help.

Your parents can help by:

Learn more about stuttering by visiting the START website. START stands for Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust. START is based in Auckland but offers consultations via telephone and Zoom.

You can also learn more by reading these online resources about stuttering:

Getting help for stuttering in teenagers

A speech-language therapist can help you to work through the issues you have with stuttering. They can also find solutions that suit you. They can help you to:

Check through your school if there is any publicly funded help available to you.

You may wish to pay to see a private speech-language therapist. You can search for a therapist on the Speech-language Therapists' Association website.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2023.


Page reference: 129952

Review key: HISCD-79694