October 22nd is International Stuttering Awareness Day. The Irish Stammering Association (ISA) welcomes last week’s Budget 2016 announcement by Minister Howlin that funding will be made available for children’s speech and language therapy services.
Around 5% of children will stammer; a condition characterized by sound repetitions, prolongations and blocks in its early stages. Some children will recover from stammering but around 1% of adults continue to stammer. Stammering can lead to avoidance of speaking situations, embarrassment, frustration and people not fulfilling their potential; whatever their age.
Commenting on the Budget announcement ISA Chairperson Michael Ryan said: “While we welcome increased investment into speech and language therapy services, we note that waiting lists for both assessment and treatment have been problematic around the country for many years. Funding reductions and recruitment embargos have far reaching consequences. Delays in access to services for children who stammer reduce their chances of recovery. Services for adults who stammer are limited or non-existent in many areas; research shows that adults who are supported can contribute more positively to society and to the economy.”
“Irish Stammering Association calls for investment in services to support people who stammer throughout their lives. Services in the early years of stammering offer the best chance of recovery. However, it is also important to offer services for those who are older, to give them the best possible support to their education and employment, allowing them to contribute fully to society,” said Mr Ryan.
This year’s theme for International Stuttering Awareness Day is ‘Spread the Word – Education, Cooperation, Communication’. By working together we can reduce the isolation associated with stuttering and see people who stammer playing a positive role. Irish Stammering Association will continue to monitor services for children and adults who stutter over the coming months to ensure that those who find it difficult to speak up are still listened to.
People who stammer are individuals. We all have our own thoughts about stammering, and we have all had our own unique experiences of being a person who stammers.