October 22nd is International Stuttering Awareness Day. The Irish Stammering Association (ISA) welcomes last week’s Budget 2016 announcement by Minister Howlin that funding will be made available for children’s speech and language therapy services.
Around 5% of children will stammer; a condition characterized by sound repetitions, prolongations and blocks in its early stages. Some children will recover from stammering but around 1% of adults continue to stammer. Stammering can lead to avoidance of speaking situations, embarrassment, frustration and people not fulfilling their potential; whatever their age.
Commenting on the Budget announcement ISA Chairperson Michael Ryan said: “While we welcome increased investment into speech and language therapy services, we note that waiting lists for both assessment and treatment have been problematic around the country for many years. Funding reductions and recruitment embargos have far reaching consequences. Delays in access to services for children who stammer reduce their chances of recovery. Services for adults who stammer are limited or non-existent in many areas; research shows that adults who are supported can contribute more positively to society and to the economy.”
“Irish Stammering Association calls for investment in services to support people who stammer throughout their lives. Services in the early years of stammering offer the best chance of recovery. However, it is also important to offer services for those who are older, to give them the best possible support to their education and employment, allowing them to contribute fully to society,” said Mr Ryan.
This year’s theme for International Stuttering Awareness Day is ‘Spread the Word – Education, Cooperation, Communication’. By working together we can reduce the isolation associated with stuttering and see people who stammer playing a positive role. Irish Stammering Association will continue to monitor services for children and adults who stutter over the coming months to ensure that those who find it difficult to speak up are still listened to.
Irish Stammering Association (ISA) welcomes Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly TD’s decision to restore funding through the SSNO scheme. ISA also welcomes a review of the scheme that will help find a more long-term sustainable solution to funding core costs of organisations delivering front line services in the health and disability sector.
Irish Stammering Association is the only national organisation representing people who stammer and their families and supporting professionals working in the field. Stammering is a hidden disability. Like many other communication disabilities, the level of disadvantage is not always apparent and often immeasurable. Stammering can lead to disadvantage through limiting access to social interaction, education and training and vocational opportunities. ISA aims to limit the impact of exclusion through offering non-therapeutic supports to the community connected by stammering. Worldwide research points to improved quality of life and reduced disadvantage through involvement with agencies like ISA.
Withdrawal of core funding means that ISA would not be able to retain two part-time staff and would pose a threat to the provision of services such as monthly Skype group for teenagers who stammer, ISAYiT! children’s drama project for young people who stammer, involvement in National Stammering Awareness Day, Irish Stammering Association Annual Conference, Leadership Skills Project for women who stammer, Phone support group for women who stammer, as well as compiling online and printed resources for parents of children who stammer and maintenance of our website.
At a special reception held by The Hospital Saturday Fund at the Mansion House in Dublin on the 20th February 2014, ISA received €3,000 to support adults who stammer improve their communication skills. In total 30 charities and organisations received donations totaling €100,000 at the event which was hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn, Vice-President of The Hospital Saturday Fund.
The Lord Mayor, speaking at the reception acknowledged the extraordinary work of all the charities receiving funds from Hospital Saturday Fund. Paul Jackson, Chief Executive, Hospital Saturday Fund said: “We are delighted to continue the tradition of supporting many charities in Ireland, many of which are less well-known. The Hospital Saturday Fund is honoured to support the efforts of such deserving charities and help in some way towards the exceptional, tireless work that they do.” ISA would like to thank most sincerely The Hospital Saturday Fund for its generous support