What do Ed Sheeran, King Edward VI, Rowan Atkinson, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt all have in comme with about 5,000 Sheffielders?
They have all stuttered or stammered in one way or another - and this month, to mark International Stammering Awareness Day, Sheffield Speech and Language Therapists are hoping to increase understanding and acceptance of stammering.
A spokesman for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “Stammering takes various forms for people; repeating the starts of words, making speech sounds longer then they would usually be, or feeling that the words get stuck and have to be forced out.
“Some people do not find their lives particularly affected by their speech. Others, like King Edward VI as played by actor Colin Firth in the film ‘The King’s Speech,’ stammer so much that their life is dominated by stammering. Some people may not have realised they have a stammer but are aware that, ‘I get tangled up talking,’ or ‘my words get stuck and just won’t come out,’ as was the case for Ed Balls.
“Sheffield is fortunate in having a specialist service for people of all ages who stammer, hosted by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and based in the Speech and Language Therapy Department at Flockton House, in Nether Edge.”
Specialist speech and language therapist Kate Williams said: “Therapy does not aim to ‘cure’ stammering, but to take the physical struggle and fear out of talking so that it is possible to speak freely, using the words that the person wants to use when they want to use them. It’s a privilege to help young people who find talking difficult to find their voice. Offering support and therapy at an early stage can help prevent anxieties and increase confidence.”