Some thoughts from Jane Harley, one of the Michael Palin Centre speech and language therapy team……………………
Last month I had the chance to work with a group of therapists in Derby – giving a 3 day workshop on therapy with secondary pupils who stammer. Now this is not the most frequently requested of our workshops but it is one that is dear to my heart. Like many therapists I hugely enjoy working with young people during this transitional time in their lives when the question of what to do about having a stammer brings such a variety of issues and concerns, or sometimes lack of concern!
One challenge that we have as therapists is how to integrate a number of therapy strands so that we can work as holistically as possible within the boundaries of our role. That means different things for each young person even though they all have one thing in common. Do we work on fluency techniques now? At all? Is having a stammer stopping this person from being their most confident, fulfilled or ‘out there’ self? Let’s not make assumptions – that’s important – but let’s be very real about the cost for young people, and our society as a whole, when stammering starts to influence the big life choices.
Returning on the train from Derby I thought about the energy of the group, the questions and interest and sharing which has continued since then. What a resource these therapists are for the young people in their areas. Let’s keep sharing!