Action for Stammering Children (ASC) is the Charity that works hard to help children and young people who stammer. We asked Joel Winston, a member of our Youth Panel, to write about what it’s like to have a stammer and how having speech and language therapy helped him regain his confidence.
“My name is Joel Winston I am 14 and I have a stammer. The first way in which my stammer affects me is when I am at school I often find it quite difficult to speak or read out loud in class as I find this puts me under pressure and when I am under pressure to speak, my stammer becomes a lot worse. In school there are certain classes which I find it more difficult than others and this largely depends upon the number of people in the class and my teacher.
Outside of school the therapy I have had has been at the Michael Palin Centre and I have found this to be very helpful. My first form of therapy was with a speech and language therapist who I would meet with once a week and during our sessions we would discuss how my stammer had been during the past week and how we thought we could improve. The sessions were helpful because they gave me the opportunity to relax a little bit and to not feel so stressed about my stammer.
Two years ago I attended a two-week intensive stammering course where I was introduced to other children who stammered. Working with other children of my age and with a stammer was incredibly helpful because I realised that I was not alone with my stammer and all of the experiences that I had gone through could be shared in the groups. I could also hear of other people’s experiences. For many of us, it was the first opportunity that we had had to meet other people of our age group with a stammer.
During the course we were constantly pushed to work outside our comfort zones. This included having to read for 30 seconds in front of the therapists, parents and our fellow group members. Another thing we had to do was go out on the street and ask simple questions such as the time and directions to somewhere. This was helpful as it gave me a confidence boost that my stammer was not as bad as I thought it was compared to the others attending the course.”
– Joel Winston
ASC want every child and young person to have access to a brilliant speech and language therapist.