December 8 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Stammering affects thousands of people across the country as those with the condition struggle to put their thoughts and views into words.
Yesterday, two people with an insight into stammering were on hand in Lowestoft library to explain to visitors how the speech impediment can affect lives and needs to be tackled at an early stage.
John Thompson, from the organisation the East Suffolk and Norfolk Support Group for People who Stammer, had arranged a four-day exhibition at the library which finished yesterday.
Mr Thompson, who is from Lowestoft, was joined on the final day of the exhibition by Helen Barker, whose son Dominic Barker had a stammer and took his own life at the age of 26.
After her son’s death in 1994, Mrs Barker and her husband set up the Suffolk-based charity the Dominic Barker Trust to fund research into stammering and to raise awareness of the issues surrounding it.
Mrs Barker, from Holbrook, near Ipswich, said: “Stammering does have a major impact on people’s lives, There can be quite a lot of teasing from an early age.
“But there is more awareness and sympathy towards it nowadays.
“The key thing is to identify it as quickly as possible at a young age so speech therapy can be organised quickly.
“John has done a good job with this exhibition as it will keep stammering in everybody’s minds and make people aware that there is support out there for people who stammer.”
Stammering affects about between 5pc and 8pc of pre-school children and 1pc of adults.
It is not yet known what causes the condition, although some research suggests the cause is physical.
As well as information leaflets and details on support groups, the library exhibition also featured famous people who had or have stammers or speed impediments, such as Winston Churchill, Elvis Presley, shadow chancellor Ed Balls, singer Gareth Gates, film star Bruce Willis and comedian Rowan Atkinson.
Mr Thompson, who developed stammering when he was five and recently retired from the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Stammering can affect job prospects, social lives and relationships.
“But there is a lot of help out there now compared to when I was younger and a lot of misconceptions have gone.”
The last day of the exhibition at Lowestoft library marked International Stammering Awareness Day.
The East Suffolk and Norfolk Support Group for People who Stammer has 10 members.
Its next meeting in Lowestoft is at Ink House Studios in Rotterdam Road from 7pm.
For more information about the group, call Mr Thompson on 07854 650246 or 01502 581 481 or email email@example.com