What do King George VI, Ed Sheeran
and Samuel L Jackson have in common? The answer is that they all had a stammer.
Stammering is a condition which can make it very difficult for you to speak sometimes. It causes repetition of sounds of syllables or you might make sounds longer or sounds just get stuck. This, as you can imagine can cause a lot of distress for the person who has a stammer and a lot of confusion for the person who is trying to listen to what they are trying to say. No-one is quite sure what causes people to stammer or stutter.
Some people feel that is a developmental issue. In later life people who have had head injuries can experience difficulties with stuttering. Stammering is more common than you might think.
I seem to remember one of my childhood friends having a stutter and I remember that he was very aware of his difficulty, and sadly some of his friends would make fun of him. Over 70 million people worldwide have the condition, according to the Stuttering Foundation
How tech can help if you have a stammer
You might be surprised to hear that technology can help people with stammering. In the past there has been technology available but this has often been cumbersome and difficult to use. However, using iPads and similar tablets as well as computers can be beneficial for people to help control their stammer. Lots of apps are available which use AAF or "Altered Audio Feedback" which means that you can use the app to hear what you've just said and there is evidence that this improves the fluency of the speaker.
An example of such an app DAF Beep Pro
. In fact, one of the students going through our DSA assessment service
did have a stutter and was recommended this app by one of our assessors. The app comes with video guidance on how to use it. DAF Beep Pro allows the user to hear their own voice played back in their ear at a slight delay which has been found to help a person control stammering during oral conversations. You can get a lot of discrete Bluetooth earphones too
, if you're worried about feeling self-conscious.
It is important to point out here that we're not experts in this field and we'd say that if you have a stutter or a stammer your first port of call ought to be support groups such as The British Stammering Association
or your local NHS speech therapy team (accessible through your GP).
How can we help?
AbilityNet provides a range of services to help disabled people and older people with technology and communications.
Call our free Helpline on 0800 269 545 and our friendly, knowledgeable staff will offer one-to-one help.
If you are in work your employer has a responsibility to make Reasonable Adjustments which include helping you with invisible illnesses. Find out more about how we help disabled in the workplace.
Arrange a home visit from one of our amazing AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.
We have a range of factsheets which talk in detail about technology that might help you, which can be downloaded for free. You may find our factsheets talking about computers and vision impairment useful
My Computer My Way is our free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tables and smartphones.