Monday, 19 April 2010

A tardis in reverse - guest slot from Norbert Lieckfeldt, Chief Executive of the British Stammering Association

The British Stammering Association is the UK’s national association on all aspects of stammering. Founded over thirty years ago, we are the place where adults who stammer, parent of stammering children and anyone else interested in the subject join forces to provide information, campaign for changes in services and raise awareness of the problems affecting people who stammer of all ages. Stammering affects about 5-7% of pre-school children, and about 1% of the school-age and adult population – that is about 720,000 people in the UK.

Our Information and Support Service is operating a telephone helpline, 0845 603 2001, and our website is the most comprehensive web-based source of information on all aspects of stammering. The helpline sends out 2,500 information packs each year, and the website is accessed by 14,000 individual users every month. We have recently started Facebook and twitter campaigns as well.

We have developed detailed strategies for supporting children who stammer in the school setting – something which will be shortly freely available on a dedicated website at

Our pre-school projects and campaigns are based on the recognition that early intervention can prevent a lifetime of stammering – and that far too many children still slip through the net when a brief, therapeutic intervention at the age of 3 or 4 might have resolved the problem of stammering completely. We have recently developed criteria for a model of service delivery for pre-school dysfluency and have tested this successfully in six pilot trusts – more children were referred, they were referred at a younger age, but successful intervention was quicker so they were discharged more quickly and thus there was no detrimental impact on the services for other children with SLCN; we are hoping to be able to roll this out across the country, possibly with some input from the Better Communication Research Programme.

So why “a tardis in reverse”, though? We are a relatively small charity, led by people who stammer, with a modest income and a small staff team. This was the phrase one of our members once used to describe us – we are “much bigger on the outside than on the inside”.

No comments: