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Is Stuttering a disability?

Hey, so I was in my French lesson last Friday and I heard my teacher say something about how stuttering is a disability and it has really got me thinking.

I have had a stutter my entire life and my parents told me that I went to speech therapy when I was really young to try and help it but stopped because I was extremely nervous in front of people so I never really spoke to the person. One of my friends will mock my stuttering and tell me to ‘speak properly’ when I can’t and we have to do a speaking task in English about a topic of our choice, but it’s like a news report (Like bbc news) and I struggle to say ‘s’,’t’, and especially w when it comes to saying who what where when and why, which we have to do in the project.

I was told that a disability is something that can stop you from doing everyday things and I can’t speak to my friends or answer my teachers properly in lessons because of this stutter. So then is stuttering classed as a disability?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Stuttering is sometimes called stammering. It’s a speech problem where you might repeat sounds, make sounds longer or a word might get stuck. There can be long pauses between sounds and it's sometimes difficult to say what you want to. You might feel nervous or anxious when you stutter.

You shouldn’t be treated differently because of your stammer but you might need extra support with tasks you find more difficult, like speaking tasks, drama or role play. You can talk to your special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) about what help is available at school. No one should make fun of you or bully you when you stutter.

How much you stutter varies from person to person. You might stutter some of the time or in certain situations and some people stutter when they are young and then grow out of it. Some people continue to stutter as they grow older and when they’re an adult.

Your stutter might be classed as a disability, it depends on how much it affects your day to day activities and on how long you have had it or you’re likely to have it for. You can ask your doctor or health professional what help and support is available and whether they think you have a disability. If you have a disability the law protects you from discrimination and being treated unfairly.

Remember, lots of young people have a stammer at some point and help and support is available.  Try to relax, speak slowly, build your confidence and don’t avoid situations because of your stammer.

You can talk to an adult you trust or talk to a counsellor at Childline if you’re being bullied or for support about how your stutter is affecting you.

Thank you for your letter.

Take care,

Sam

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