Stammer group users say it’s good to talk

A VOLUNTARY group for people who have a stammer is looking for new members from across Mansfield and Ashfield.

The group meets every other Tuesday night at Sherwood Community Centre, on Mansfield Road in Nottingham, and gives members a chance to discuss their problems or practice speech techniques in a relaxed environment.

Mansfield-based conveyancing solicitor Matt Slade has a stammer and is chairman of the self help group and believes that the group’s informal environment helps service users be themselves during meetings.

“We offer a chance to talk over the problems we all experience with our speech, in a friendly and informal environment with others who have similar problems,” he said.

“Anyone who stammers or who has stammered in the past is welcome to attend meetings and spouses, partners and friends are also welcome.”

Stammering is a problem with the normal flow and timing of speech and attempts to say something may be interrupted by repetition of a syllable, prolongation of the sound or a complete block on speech.

There is often an embarrassment about having a stammer although people who stammer find they are quite fluent if they sing, whisper or speak as part of a group.

The group’s meetings include speaking circles, play reading and, most importantly, focussing on individual issues in speech.

“When I was at school I wanted to take part in plays but when I got up on stage I couldn’t say anything, ” he said.

“We will spend time talking but we also do play reading where we will act out a play.

“We also have speaking circles where someone can stand up and speak in front of everyone or just stand up and just get used to standing up in front of people.”

Relaxation exercises are also used during the classes with speech and language therapists may attend to talk about new techniques to help stammerers.

“If you let it get control of you it is horrible,”adds Matt.

“Luckily I have an outgoing personality and have never let it get on top of me but different techniques work for different people.

“If there is anybody in Mansfield or Ashfield who has a stammer and would like to come along to our group meetings, they are very welcome.”

The group meets on a fortnightly basis during term time on Tuesday from 7 to 9pm at its Nottingham base and there is a £2 charge per meeting and the fee goes towards room costs.

To join the group email Matt at msslade@gmail.com or contact him on 0115 9532177.

The British Stammering Association will be holding an open day in the Rufford Suite at County Hall in Nottingham on 22nd October from 10am to 4.30pm.

The event will include guest speakers and is open to anyone with a stammer as well as their friends and families, speech and language therapists or students.

l Visit www.nottinghamselfhelpgroupforstammerers.co.uk.