Why is my daughter's stammer quite different now that she is a teenager?
This often happens.
Sometimes, in order to avoid or minimise the problem, a person who has been stammering for a while may develop some very resourceful coping strategies, for example:
- developing a wide vocabulary of alternative words so that 'difficult' words can be avoided
- using a 'starter' word or phrase which gives a 'run up' to the word they want to say
- using a physical gesture - moving a hand or foot, as if to "push" the words out.
While these can be quite helpful strategies, they can also become part of the problem too. A trick that may have helped for a while stops being so useful, but like many habits, it can become a way of life.
We really don't recommend advising a child or an adult to "think of a new word" or "take a deep breath". While it seems to help for a short time, it may eventually make the problem worse.
Avoidance and coping strategies take a great deal of mental energy - it is exhausting to have to concentrate on how you are speaking all the time, rather than on what you are trying to say.Others don't understand