Talking about stammering is how we can all improve the lives of people who stammer.
International Stammering Awareness Day (ISAD) is a great opportunity to talk to the general public about stammering. Only by talking openly about stammering will we gradually remove the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding it. And there’s an additional benefit to us as well – talking about it is therapeutic in its own right!
All of us can help in some way to get the important messages across.
But how do we go about it? And what do we say?
To discuss ideas on how you can help to spread stammering awareness on ISAD, email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Also why not join our Closed Facebook Group and tell us what you're doing.
Who to talk or write to
Here are some ideas:
- Friends & family - 'Walking for talking', Mama with a stammer
- Schools and teachers - Teachers and Early Years, BSA website for School staff,
- Workplace - Employers Stammering Network, Basic information on employment, Raising awareness at EY,
- Places of Worship - Speak easy, No ordinary ordination,
- Rotary Clubs - Speaking Out team, They laughed in the right places, Rotarians support the BSA,
- Local newspapers - Article in Sunday Post, Daily Mail,
- Regional radio or TV station - On air in Doncaster..., Radio York, You and Yours,
- Your MP - find your MP at www.theyworkforyou.com, especially if you live in an area that no longer offers NHS speech therapy for adults and (in some places) even for children who stammer. Contact the BSA office to check the status of your local NHS service.
- Talk to a local supermarket about setting up a Stammering Awareness Day stand there (image below).
- Spread the word through social media - Facebook, Twitter, whatever you use. Download our poster below.
- Read and share with your friends, family or colleagues the Online ISAD Conference (online until 22 October) with interesting articles on research and living with a stammer!
It’s worth remembering that the local and regional media are always looking for interesting stories affecting local people. For example, local radio will be very keen to interview you, and newspaper journalists are always hungry for material for articles. Your call or email will be welcomed with open arms. For example, you can find your local BBC radio station online - the contact email address for suggesting news stories is usually at the bottom of the page under Contact us, eg email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also Tweet in advance of the day and copy in their Twitter handle.
Make use of our Talking about Stammering poster. You can download the pdf below to print out, or the jpg images for social media. Use it on your Facebook page! Tweet it. Have it as your profile picture. The Twitter hashtag is #isad2016 . Many thanks to Ogilvy & Mather for their pro bono work in designing the poster.
- pdf poster - to print (4.88MB)
- jpg image, portrait - for social media
- jpg image, landscape - for social media.
What do we say?
The BSA has come up with 6 Key Messages which you can use as a framework for what you want to say or write. You will probably also want to add something about your own experience of stammering.
1. Encourage people to see stammering as a different way of speaking that can bring its own strengths:
A lifetime of stammering develops characteristics that can bring great benefits to society: authenticity, resilience, empathy, determination, listening skills. The ESN has developed posters that firms like EY and DHL have successfully adapted, highlighting the strengths of their employees who stammer.
2. The cause of stammering is neurological (to do with the brain).
Research using brain imaging techniques (MRI) clearly shows that people who stammer have brain anatomy and function that is different from people who don’t stammer.
Stammering is a normal occurrence in 1% of the population throughout the world. Speech production is a hugely complex system of connections within the brain. In such a complex system things don’t always go according to plan. So it’s not surprising that fluent speech is not achieved in everyone. The speech production area in the brains of one in every hundred people, or about 600,000 people in the UK, fails to develop fluent speech.
So the underlying cause of stammering is physical; but of course we know that with stammering what is, in essence, a speech production problem can quickly develop into a communication disability.
3. Promote the BSA as a fantastic source of help and advice.
The BSA knows a lot about stammering. And if it doesn’t know, it can find out. If you want help and advice about stammering talk to the BSA.
The BSA can help you find appropriate speech therapy. It brings the stammering community together through regular events and online, and has a list of local self-help groups. It provides information on anything to do with stammering. It helps to raise awareness. It lobbies for change at national and local Government level. It encourages research. And it never stops trying to improve the lives of people who stammer. The BSA’s vision is a society where every person who stammers has as much chance of a full and rewarding life as anyone else.
4. Highlight the importance of speech and language therapy
Speech therapy works for many people. Support to stammer more openly and speech modification techniques have changed the lives of many people who stammer.
Speech therapy for children who have just started to stammer is especially important to reduce the chance of stammering continuing into adulthood (Early Intervention).
5. Dispel underlying myths and misunderstandings about stammering.
People don’t stammer because they’re less intelligent, or have nothing to say. Being shy or nervous does not cause stammering. Bad parenting does not cause stammering. Neither, in most cases, does trauma.
6. Allowing someone who stammers the time to speak
If talking to a person who stammers, don't finish their sentences. Maintain natural eye contact and wait patiently till they finish speaking. More: In conversation with a person who stammers.
These are back in stock and you can order yours and wear it with pride. These sea-green coloured wristbands have the message 'Let's Talk about Stammering', and our website address www.stammering.org. They are available in youth or adult size.You can order online or call the BSA on 020 8983 1003 with your card details. If you order by text (see the order online link for details), please follow it up with an email with your mobile number, name/address and desired size to Jacqueline Fitzsimmons.
The Airedale Stammering Therapy Group have developed a poster to raise awareness around International Stammering Awareness Day - great effort! You can download a full-size version of the poster from this link.