We have just returned from the Oxford Dysfluency Conference, which was held over this weekend (17-20 July) at St Catherine’s College in Oxford. This is a scientific conference for researchers and clinicians working in stammering and cluttering. There were 192 attendees from 32 different countries – a truly international conference! We heard about the latest research into treatment effectiveness, new therapy approaches and the nature of fluency disorders.
The Michael Palin Centre team gave a total of 11 presentations, including poster, research and clinical seminars. We presented work which demonstrates the effectiveness of our intensive courses for both 10-14 year olds and older teenagers who stammer, along with some therapy methods that therapists might find useful when working with children who stammer. Sharon Millard, one of our lead therapists, co-chaired the conference and is pictured here giving the closing address.
Action for Stammering Children has sponsored the publication of the Proceedings of the conference so that these can be available to everyone. So if you weren’t able to get to the Conference, you will be able to see a summary of what was presented.
Now to start planning for the 11th ODC in 2017!
We sometimes wonder what happened to children and young people who have attended for therapy. If the therapy has ended well, we might hope that they have gone from strength to strength, but there is the other possibility that there might have been a relapse and they didn’t like to get in touch.
Action for Stammering Children, the charity which supports the Michael Palin Centre, now funds a few young people each year to return to the Centre if they have suffered a setback. This can occur when the person moves into higher education or goes for their first job. They may only need a few therapy sessions to get back on track and it is wonderful that the charity is able to support this.
Occasionally we receive letters and emails from ‘old’ children, telling us that they came here when they were only ten, and now they are twenty-six and a secondary school teacher. Apart from making us feel old when we remember them, we are also so encouraged to know that they are realising their potential and that their stammer has not held them back. They often say they still stammer sometimes, but it is no longer an issue for them. Success!
Sometimes these ‘old boys’ and ‘old girls’ come in to speak to the current groups of young people and their parents. These are precious, inspirational moments, when today’s children can see that yesterday’s children who stammer have become the people they want to be, with the lives they want to live. Embodying all that can be achieved with the help of therapy and a good support system around them. And that is what we are here to do.