Outdated myths about stammering that parents might hear

Can you catch it?

Occasionally parents have worried that their child caught stammering from another child whom he has heard stammering, or has copied it from another child. There is no evidence that this can happen.

Can being left-handed cause stammering?

When it was common years ago to make children who naturally used their left hand to use their right, there was a theory that this caused stammering. There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case. However, the incidence of left-handedness among children who stammer is significantly higher than among children who do not. Around 1 in 4 of children who stammer are left-handed, compared to 1 in 9/10 of the general population.

Your child will grow out of it!

This is a very worrying myth as parents do report being told to ignore the stammer by other people and even by professionals. It is true in some cases that the stammer does go away but only a speech and language therapist can assess whether your child's stammer is likely to do this or will need intervention. Parents often feel instinctively that they should seek advice about their child's stammering and being told to ignore it by other people is very unhelpful, as a parent is right to want further advice.

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Text for this page: Outdated myths about stammering that parents might hear
Text for this whole section: Does your primary school child stammer?