Calling Speech & Language Therapists: Will you help us improve access to services for childhood stammering?
As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”, and the same can be said to describe the provision of services for children and young people (CYP) who stammer. The appearance of stammering during a child’s development can be a difficult time for both the child and their families, and speech and language therapists are undoubtedly a vital source of help in these instances. However, a number of factors can significantly influence how easily families access speech and language therapy – we want to understand what these are.
We already know from earlier research that children often do not receive timely interventions, which has been attributed in part to the existence of a postcode lottery in service access across England (1). Furthermore, Action for Stammering Children (ASC) regularly hears from families that it is difficult finding resources in their area. This appears to be due to a lack of a ‘pit stop’ of information about which services are available and limited awareness about stammering generally. And yet, the role and experiences of speech and language therapists are not sufficiently spotlighted, even though these individuals occupy the best position to provide feedback on what works and what needs improvement.
Thus, ASC is pleased to announce that we are conducting a research project to begin addressing these gaps. As barriers to service access are systemic and convoluted, the first step is to obtain a holistic understanding of both service users and providers. This entails hearing their experiences through focus group discussions, and more importantly, learning from them. Hence, through this project we aim to:
- Deepen our understanding of what support is available to children and young people who stammer across England.
- Provide up-to-date information for families so that they can more easily access the support they are looking for.
Yet to do so, we need YOUR help. If you are a speech and language therapist who has provided support to CYP who stammer in England, we would like to invite you to take part in our focus groups, which will
- Take place in August to early September,
- Be held on Microsoft Teams,
- Last 1 hour, and
- Requires no prior preparation, just a willingness to share your thoughts.
As a small thank-you, you’ll be entered into a prize draw for vouchers at the end. To sign-up, please head to this link (Microsoft Forms) or email [email protected] for more information. We hope to see you there!
*If you are a child/young person who stammers or a parent who has had experience accessing speech and language therapy in England, you can head to this complementary post here which invites you to join the relevant focus group.
- Children’s Commissioner. (2019). We need to talk: Access to speech and language therapy. https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/resource/we-need-to-talk/