Better Care

How therapy helped me embrace my stammer

A Birmingham teacher, who overcame a stammer with the support of BCHC speech and language therapists, is to share his story as part of a national awareness-raising initiative.

Abed Ahmed, of Lozells, is to speak at an evening of talks and information-sharing on Tuesday, 5 September at Birmingham City University (BCU). The event forms part of activities in support of the efforts of British Stammering Association chairman Tim Fell, who is walking the length of Britain to raise awareness of stammering.

Tim, who began his unaided 1,000-mile journey at John O’Groats on 27 July, is inviting people to join in a conversation about stammering along the way. The BCU event is timed to support that ambition and coincide with his arrival in the West Midlands.

Abed says that when he began to stammer at the age of four, there was much lower awareness of the types of support he needed than there is today.

Abed Ahmed
Speech and language therapy has helped Abed come to terms with his stammer.

“It was extremely difficult as I wasn’t supported by my school, family or friends,” says the 23-year-old maths teacher.

“It wasn’t their fault – they were simply unaware what a stammer was.”

It was not until Abed was 19 that he was referred for speech and language therapy at Stockland Green Primary Care Centre and, through regular 1:1 sessions over nearly a year, he was able to think more positively about his stammer.

“That therapy helped me begin the journey of embracing my stammer and accepting that it’s part of who I am,” he says.

“Getting the right professional support has enabled me to begin a career that absolutely depends on having confidence in your ability to communicate clearly.

”I realised that I stopped thinking about my stammer once I stopped caring about what people think. I now control what was once controlling me.  So, raising awareness is invaluable – the more people are aware of stammering, the easier it becomes for stammerers.”

Anyone is welcome to join Tim as he walks from Cannock to Birmingham on Monday, 4 September and from Birmingham on to Worcester on Wednesday, 6 September. He aims to arrive at Land’s End on 21 September.

Tim says: “Stammering affects hundreds of thousands of people regardless of background, profession, race, religion or politics.

“People who stammer often say that their speech makes them feel isolated and ashamed.

“We need to change the conversation around stammering from one of awkwardness to one of confidence. It’s only by talking about stuttering openly, by all of us, that society will understand the issues around it.”

If you are over 16, registered with a Birmingham GP, and would like therapy to help with stammering can either ask their doctor to refer or self-refer using this form. If you have any queries about the support available, click here to send an e-mail.