Skip to main content

The Barnsley children’s speech and language therapy team is reminding local school pupils that “It’s OK to stammer” with the help of EyUp! charity funding.

Image of person holding the boy who made everyone laugh book
Specialist stammering therapist Nicola Maddy with the book

The team used EyUp! charity funding to buy copies of the book ‘The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh’ by Helen Rutter, which tells the story of a stammering child who faces his fears and realises that he is happy with who he is.

To encourage discussion and change the perception of stammering, the team are offering local primary schools a free copy of the book, resources for class discussions, and support for teachers to deliver the information.

Schools will also receive a video made by children and young people who stammer in Barnsley explaining stammering and how others can help.

Saturday 22 October marks International Stammering Awareness Day. Stammering is a way of talking caused by subtle neurological differences, where people may repeat sounds or words, stretch sounds, or get stuck meaning sound won’t come out. Sometimes, this may be accompanied by extra movements, gasping, or tension.

Nicola Maddy, specialist stammering therapist, said: “We know from research with adults who stammer that their experiences in childhood can continue to affect them as adults in terms of their mental health, academic success and work prospects.

“If people were more understanding and accepting of stammering then people who stammer might feel more comfortable with their talking. We want to take the first steps to make Barnsley a place where children and adults say “Hey… It’s OK to stammer” and celebrate the diverse ways we communicate.

“We hope that this project will support schools in changing the perception of stammering and provide a happier and safer communication environment for children who stammer.”