International Stammering Awareness Day-22nd October 2021

As part of International Stammering Awareness Day, our Specialist Speech and Language Therapist Lauren McCormick is sharing her own experience of stammering:

After developing my interest in stammering, and working with children and young people who stammer, for nearly 10 years, I now find myself to be the parent of a 3 and a half year old who stammers. It’s an interesting perspective.

It’s hard to see your child struggling with something and, of course, we want to help them. With children who stammer, as with all children, we want to help them believe in themselves and boost their confidence by focusing on their wonderful ideas and what they are saying, rather than how they are saying it 🙂

I really notice with my little boy, that he needs to take more time to think about what he wants to say. It helps him if I bob down face-to-face to let him know I am listening, there’s no rush.

Obviously, we have to live in the real world – and sometimes we really are in a rush!!! So it isn’t possible to do this all the time. It can be helpful to try to think about it for 5 minutes a day (or 3-5 times a week) when you are playing or talking together. In Speech and Language Therapy we usually call this Special Time (or 5 Minute Time, for older children).

Getting Face-to-face

Lots of children start to stammer when they are developing their language skills, about 5% of the population. 4 out of 5 children who start to stammer will stop stammering naturally, and 1 out of 5 will need some support, and may continue to stammer in their later childhood and adulthood. However, this doesn’t have to be a problem. You can be an excellent and confident communicator and have a stammer. Getting the right support at the right time is important.

If your child has started to stammer, or is finding it hard to talk, and you are worried about it, please call us for some advice or to make a referral. We would love to hear from you!

By Lauren McCormick, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Below are links to a new campaign and interesting videos featuring children, young people and adults who stammer:

Watch the film and sign the petition pushing for greater representation of stammering in the media

No diversity without dysfluency campaign:

Listen to Tash’s VLOG covering topics such as managing virtual meetings to dealing with peoples’ lack of understanding about stammering:

Tash’s vlog: Stammering Virtually | STAMMA

Listen to a range of bite sized videos for parents addressing a range of common worries including ‘is it my fault that my child has started to stammer?’

Videos | STAMMA

We need to consider the language we use when we talk about stammering:

Using neutral language with children who stammer – Bing video

Watch 15 year old Erin Stoner perform her poem about stammering for the ‘Speak Out Challenge’

Stammering Awareness Day – Thursday 22nd October

by Jo Lester, Locality Manager (North) and Clinical Lead Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for Children and Young People who stammer in Hackney & The City

Today is International Stammering Awareness Day! I always remind people why sea green is the associated colour: Michael Sugarman the Founder says: “The colour ‘blue’ has traditionally been associated with calm while ‘green’ represents liberty, freedom and justice. The combination of these colours for People who Stutter shows the bond between ‘peace’ and ‘liberation’ when finding support and community with other people who understand and share their experiences. These are reflected in the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities of People who Stutter (link to ISA website)

Here are some things you can do to mark the day:

  • Wear sea green!
  • Watch some brilliant videos of adults who stammer talking about their stammer in the context of their work/job here.
  • Read some blogs, poems and other interesting observations by people who stammer and share with others here.
  • Watch this video of Erin Stoner a pupil performing an AMAZING poem about her experience of having a stammer:
  • Watch this Ted Talk by Singer Megan Washington:.
  • Check out interesting events which you can sign up to here.

Finally, Children’s Integrated Speech and Language Therapy Service for Hackney and the City are delighted to be collaborating with the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering in a feasibility study of a 10-week therapy programme for children aged 8-14 and their parents, called Palin Stammering Therapy for School Children (Palin STSC 8-14). Helping children to be more confident communicators is the main goal. To achieve this, the therapy focuses on three areas: building communication skills; finding ways to manage unhelpful thoughts and emotions; and, speech tools to reduce struggle when speaking. Watch this space!

Happy Stammering Awareness Day everyone!