City Lit Blog

Stammering Pride and Prejudice conference - Thursday 3 November 2016

Story added 9th Aug 2016


City Lit has brought together Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and people who stammer, to contribute to a ground-breaking one-day conference. These leading voices are engaging directly with the disability activist movement and the principles of the social model of disability in the UK and US. This is a unique opportunity for you to find out more about this radical movement which has significant implications for work with children, young people and adults who stammer.

Stammering Pride and Prejudice conference - 9.30am to 4.30pm (registration from 9.00am), City Lit, Keeley Street, London WC2B 4BA. Cost: £38

FACT: People who stammer are subject to public stigma and stereotyping.

FACT: People who stammer often stigmatise themselves.

QUESTION: To what extent does speech and language therapy unwittingly perpetuate public and self-stigma?

There will be:

  • Academic debate
  • Intellectual challenge and stimulation
  • Discussion of practical ways SLTs can develop their practice
  • Practical ideas and challenge to engage people who stammer

If you are an SLT (Speech or Language Therapist) or someone who stammers, are willing to step out of your comfort zone and would like to explore your position on otherness, difference and disability, then come along and join us on 3 November 2016.

The cost of the conference (£38) includes refreshments throughout the day, including lunch and a glass of wine to close.

>> Book your place via Eventbrite

For further details, email / 020 7492 2579.

This conference is being organised by Sam Simpson of intandem ( and Carolyn Cheasman and Rachel Everard of City Lit.


Conference Programme

  • Keynote address: Reducing stuttering stigma in the public: Strategies for change by Michael Boyle

People who stutter not only deal with physical speech disruptions that can make communication frustrating, they also often face negative societal reactions that can lead to negative affective, cognitive, and social consequences. This presentation will focus on the concept of public stigma related to stuttering, and why this issue is important for professionals and advocates to address and change.

Michael is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University in New Jersey, U.S. Michael is a clinically certified speech-language pathologist, teacher, and researcher specialising in social and psychological factors related to stuttering, including stigma and empowerment.

He has published numerous articles and book chapters in the area of stuttering, and presented his research at local, national, and international conferences. He was a keynote speaker at the 2015 World Congress in Disorders of Fluency organised by the International Fluency Association.

  • Unravelling past beliefs by Walter Scott

Throughout my childhood and adolescence I believed that my stammer reflected my character and emotional make-up, and that it could be technically ‘corrected’ if only I would invest the time and effort. I want to explore the speech therapy that I received during this time, and to consider what else might have helped me to deal with the situations and social attitudes I was encountering and thereby develop a more constructive mindset. I will also describe how my attitude and self-awareness have changed in recent years, as a result of therapy and workplace experiences.

  • Stammering therapy and the social model of disability – what does it look like in practice? By Sam Simpson and Rachel Everard

Sam and Rachel will reflect on and share the different ways they have integrated the social model into their therapy practice, both 1:1, in group work and beyond the therapy room. They will describe their individual responses to the model, how their practice has been developed and shaped by it and a range of responses from clients.

  • A personal journey through stammering disability models by Patrick Campbell

The natural approach to stammering in society appears to be to approach it as a defect that should be minimised or eliminated through therapy. In this talk, Patrick will reflect on his life as a person who stammers within this medical framework and how his thinking – and life – has changed after being introduced to radical thoughts and philosophies around stammering from the social model.

  • A UK culture where everyone with a stammer can achieve their full career potential by Iain Wilkie

Launched in May 2013, the Employers Stammering Network’s (ESN) membership now includes public and private sector organisations employing over 1.5 million people in the UK. The ESN is by many measures already a success, but in reality there is still much to do to achieve our vision of “A UK workplace where everyone with a stammer can achieve their career potential”. In this talk, Iain will share insights from the ESN’s first 3 years and looking forward to year 4 and beyond

  • A conversation on the consequences of early childhood intervention by Chris Constantino, Dori Holte, and Joshua St. Pierre

Chris, a speech language pathologist, explores what space is left for stuttering pride within SLT. Dori, the parent of a child who stutters and author, highlights the potential negative effects of some widely used therapy approaches and discusses how the social model can help parents see stuttering in a new light. Josh, a PhD candidate in disability studies, discusses the influence of intervention in the construction of disability and the possible ramifications of our current ways of thinking

  • Scary Canary: Stammering, Struggle, Challenge and Beauty by Katy Bailey

Our dysfluent speech freaks people out, ourselves often included! I will explain how, with the right kind of support, the people who do the stammering can become some of those least troubled by it. Recognising the role of struggle in the interface between our dysfluency and the environment is essential. I will talk about how work to reduce this struggle can be liberating for people who stammer, and satisfying for those helping. Rejecting this struggle also puts the challenge of dysfluency firmly back where it belongs, in a society that validates a certain kind of speaking; and I will explore how this challenge can free up a different, proud and beautiful way of talking.

>> Book your place via Eventbrite

>> Find out more about speech therapy at City Lit