Abi Davies - Hampshire-based Dysfluency Specialist
Stammering, Stuttering or Dysfluency
Stammering, stuttering or dysfluency all mean the same thing, It is usually characterised by:
- Repetitions of sounds/ syllables at the beginning or middle of words eg: ‘b’ ‘b’ ‘but’.
- Stretching sounds in the beginning or middle of words eg: ‘wwwwwhen’.
- ‘Blocking’ sounds where sounds don’t come out or are more forcefully pushed out. This may also involve extra body movements such as eye blinking, head tipping or jerky movements.
- Avoidance or fear of sounds or words.
It is estimated that one in twenty children will start to stammer perhaps alongside language development, this figure drops to one in one hundred adults stammer. Therefore, we hope that three in every four young children (2-7 years) will naturally recover. This is less likely if the child has been stammering for over a year or if there are other factors involved such as Down Syndrome.
Research is beginning to show us which children may continue to stammer into adulthood, but there is no one causal factor and therefore no one cure. Stammering therapy therefore involves a range of areas including a thorough assessment of language and stammering types. A detailed case history completed by parents and child if appropriate and an investigation of the areas which may be causing a stammer and which may therefore benefit from therapy. It is important to seek support from a speech and language therapist when a stammer is detected to ensure correct advice is given. Advice and Information is also available from Michael Palin Centre: www.stammeringcentre.org and British Stammering Association www.stammering.org
Stammering assessments will take up to two hours with parents only. This is to ask in depth questions regarding the nature and origins of the stammer and formulate a therapy plan based on the individual factors involved. Parents do not cause stammering but are central to the therapy process.
Depending on the age of the child, a child interview and language assessments will also be carried out if necessary if necessary.
Dysfluency therapy sessions will last 1 hour and will usually involve both parents and the child.
Awareness sessions can also be delivered in school with follow up information provided about how to help your child who stammers.
Abi is able to deliver the following therapy methods to assist with stammering:
2 to 7 year olds:
Lidcombe Therapy – This therapy is delivered by the parents of the children who stammer under the guidance of the SLT.
Palin PCI (parent- child interaction) - This therapy is delivered by the parents of the children who stammer under the guidance of the SLT.
7 to 17 year olds:
Family Communication Skills Therapy – parents and child have targets to work on in the home environment.
Solution focused brief therapy – can be given in either parent and child sessions or 1:1 child only sessions.
Cognitive behaviour therapy – can be given in either parent and child sessions or 1:1 child only sessions.
Integrated fluency shaping and speech modification approaches – this area includes identification and awareness of stammering behaviours and specific stammering techniques which can be given in either parent and child sessions or 1:1 child only sessions.
Abi qualified as a speech and language therapist in 2008 with an upper second-class degree BSc honours from the University of Reading. In 2013, she completed a post-graduate certificate in speech sound difficulties at the University of Sheffield.
She has 7 years experience working in the NHS as a speech and language therapist, across a wide range of settings including special schools, mainstream schools, language units and health centres. It was in her first post that she developed an interest in working with children and young adults who stammer; she co-ran fluency groups for parents and children and received specialist training in a fluency programme for parents of children who stammer, which is known as ‘Lidcombe Therapy’. She has also received training from the Michael Palin Centre on ‘Primary school children who stutter, realising their potential’ and regularly runs intensive groups for children.
She is a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice. She is registered with the Health and Care professionals Council. She covers Portsmouth and the South Hampshire area.