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Letter to GPs from Airedale speech and language therapists

| 22.10.2013

Letter sent by speech and language therapists at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, to all GPs in the area:

Dear GP
22 October is International Stammering Awareness Day, so please take a few minutes to read about how speech therapy can transform the lives of people who stammer. Below are testimonials from children and adults who have accessed Speech and Language Therapy through Airedale NHSFT within the last year.

L, male, 21
Speech therapy is just life-changing. It's really fantastic. It's made me get out there and talk to new people. Thank you for all your help, you have helped me so much, you have changed my life.

J, female, 70
(After speech therapy) I am now more accepting and open to "confessing" my struggles to friends. This in turn has a positive effect with my speech, making me more relaxed and therefore more fluent. Speech therapy is an essential service and must be always funded and research continued, because to live like I have done so for most of my life, with no help and no insight into things has really been a needless extra struggle.

E, male, 9
I think that speech therapy is good because people who have a stammer can see more people who have one. Speech therapy started with just me my mum and a therapist, as I went on I started to join a big group of people who had a stammer, that was better. I LIKE SPEECH THERAPY .

Parent of E
As a parent of a child who stammers, speech therapy is brilliant. Speech therapy for us started from a very early age and over the years we've completed several different programmes of therapy, played lots and lots of games, had fun, had tears and talked about speech and feelings a lot! Apart from all the techniques that E has picked up to help his stammer, for me speech therapy has removed the anxiety and worry that I had and taught me a lot. Without doubt it has helped E become the confident boy he is today.

M, male, 21
While being able to order a meal in a restaurant is fine for most, I can still remember how I felt when I was able to order exactly what I wanted without a second thought. From my therapy I can say that I had a very positive experience and would recommend it to anyone else who has issues with their speech fluency.

Parent of A, 8
The speech therapists have been supportive offering one-to-one/group sessions to fit around A - I was always made aware he could receive as little or as much as he needs. It has been a great help to my child, attending the group sessions offered and realising that he is not the only child who experiences problems with his speech. I feel very lucky to have specialist support available.

N, male, 8
We play games and practise different ways of talking for when my speech is bumpy. I learnt that speech is only a tiny part of communication and it doesn't matter how I sound. I can now talk in front of the class and feel much happier about my speech.

Parents of N
We as parents have been really impressed with the service from the speech and language team. N has improved his speech lots but more importantly he is so much more confident now and we feel the speech therapy has had a large part to play in this. He had a speaking part in the school Christmas play last year and his occasional "bumpy" speech really doesn't bother him or affect what he wants to do.

Without support, stammering can significantly disrupt a person's ability to communicate, as well as their social, educational and psychological development, which is why the Speech and Language Therapy service would encourage you to refer children as soon as they start to stammer. Early intervention at a young age has the best outcome and can prevent a lifetime of stammering, but therapy for stammering at any age is cost-effective in terms of maximising a person's educational and employment opportunities and preventing social isolation and mental health difficulties.

If you have any questions, please get in touch, or for further information, visit the website of the British Stammering Association www.stammering.org. Thank you for reading.

October 2013