Stuttering Treatment


There are two basic types of treatment for stuttering that have been shown in clinical trials to be effective. These are treatments to control stuttering itself, and treatments to control the social anxiety that is associated with it. A cognitive behaviour therapy package has been developed at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre and has been shown to effectively remove the social anxiety problems of those who stutter.

Treatments to control stuttering itself are of two kinds. For the chronic stuttering of adulthood, treatment involves learning to speak with a slightly different speech pattern that controls stuttering but sounds quite natural. The version of this treatment researched at the Australian Stuttering Research Centre is known as the Camperdown Program, and is described under the Adult Treatment link. This treatment can be done face to face with a speech pathologist, or by webcam over the Internet.

For treating pre-school children who stutter, there are two treatments supported by randomised clinical trials. These are the Lidcombe Program and RESTART-DCM treatment. The best evidence base is for the Lidcombe Program, with independently replicated, randomised clinical trials. The Lidcombe Program Trainers Consortium Website is here.

Stuttering typically starts during the pre-school years and is a significant risk factor for mental health problems later in life, particularly social anxiety disorder. Such problems have been reported from 7 years of age, and are associated with long-term impairment of educational and occupational attainment. The origins of those mental health problems have been reported during the pre-school years for children who stutter: negative peer reactions, teasing, stigmatisation, social distress, and signs of emotional and behavioural problems. Although three-quarters of children may recover naturally from stuttering, recovery rate during the first 18 months is estimated to be only 6–8%. However, it is not possible to predict whether an individual child will recover naturally. Consequently, the Australian Stuttering Research Centre recommends that, after diagnosis, stuttering should be treated with an appropriate evidence-based treatment as soon as possible.