“My stammer caused me to avoid social situations my whole life, until speech and language therapy in Sheffield” says city doctor

A former patient at Sheffield Children's dysfluency service has said that acceptance is the key to confidence with a stammer.

By Nik Farah
Tuesday, 23 April, 2019, 15:04
Self-acceptance and stammering – Dmitriy’s story

Dr Dmitriy Starostin, a junior doctor and former patient at Sheffield Children's, first came to the service when he was 15 years old after struggling with a stammer throughout his childhood.

Dmitriy worked with Kate Williams, speech and language therapist and clinical lead in disorders of fluency at Sheffield Children’s for seven years to acknowledge the importance of good communication skills, increase his confidence in speaking, and learn to accept his stammer. Dmitriy is now a doctor at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, a role he is now confident in thanks to the support of Kate and her team. He uses his role to increase stammering awareness and to show that acceptance is the most important step to living with a stammer.

Dmitriy said: “I have been stammering for most of my life. In school I was once asked to read out a piece of text - a simple task for most people but so difficult for a person with a stammer. Moments like these made me embarrassed and caused me to avoid many social situations.

“It wasn’t until my late teens that I finally got on well with speech therapy because I truly began to accept my stammer. My speech and language therapist motivated me to believe and work hard on acceptance.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dmitriy was discharged from the service when he was 22.

He added: “Being a doctor was always a dream of mine, and the support I received at Sheffield Children's has helped me tremendously with my life’s ambition, by teaching me how to live with my stammer. I am now a qualified doctor who does not shy away from how he speaks. I am working hard to improve my communication skills and not my fluency. I am also working on further increasing stammering awareness in the medical field and in the general population.’’

Visit sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk for details.