British Stammering Association Lifeline


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British Stammering Association

Gareth Gates makes an appeal on behalf of the British Stammering Association, the charity that offers support to people affected by stammering.


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I always wanted to be a performer.

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And although I was lucky enough to embark upon my dream career,

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not everything was easy.

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-I have a stammer. I'm finding it hard...

-That's fine.

-Take it easy.

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Just relax.

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My name is...

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Come on!

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Just take your time.

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..Gareth Gates.

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Singing came naturally to me. Speaking didn't.

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For me, ten years ago, standing on this stage, and trying to even

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say a few words, let alone perform, would have been inconceivable.

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From the age of four,

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I've struggled with a debilitating stammer.

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It plagued me at school, it affected my self-confidence,

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I couldn't be the person that I wanted to be.

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So I know only too well what it's like to struggle

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with a stammer every moment of every day.

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31-year-old Heidi has had a severe stammer all of her life.

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She stammers on one in three syllables.

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I suppose to speak

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feels tiring.

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Growing up,

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Heidi's stammer has always made her feel like an outsider.

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Every time I

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came back to school I cried.

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Determined her speech difficulties would not hold her back,

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Heidi excelled academically, gaining a first-class degree.

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But when she began to pursue her chosen career as a psychologist,

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she was told she may never be accepted

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in the job with her stammer.

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To be told the stammer

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would stop me

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leading the life

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that I wanted to

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was heartbreaking.

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Stammering is often a misunderstood condition.

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It's a neurological disorder that's not caused by being nervous,

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anxious or shy.

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However, a stammer can seriously disrupt

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all areas of a person's life,

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and that's why I'm supporting the British Stammering Association,

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the UK's national charity that works to support both adults and children

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who are affected by stammering.

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This is four-year-old Zachary.

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18 months ago he was like any other happy little boy.

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Then almost overnight, his mum, Maria, noticed a change in him.

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He started to have trouble with beginning his sentences.

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There'd just be this long pause

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and his whole body would tense and he was unable to get the word out.

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HE CHATTERS

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Then he started to get distressed by it

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and he'd start to try and say something,

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then he'd put his head in his hands and say,

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"My words won't come. I can't talk any more."

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It was so hard to see him that distressed

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and to not know what to do to help him.

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As Zachary's stammer got worse

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Maria worried how he would cope in the future.

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He became quite introverted,

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didn't want to interact with other children.

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He would stand by me

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and wouldn't answer any questions if anybody chatted to him.

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I felt it might affect his whole school life.

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Fortunately, there is a charity that can help people like Zachary.

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The British Stammering Association

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offers relief and support to prevent the negative effects of stammering.

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They provide unique information, advice and support services

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to those who often have nowhere else to turn.

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Good evening, everybody.

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Also known as the BSA, the British Stammering Association

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supports many services, like this Stammering Support Centre in Leeds.

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If I can just explain...

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Dr Trudy Stewart is the director of the centre.

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Here at the Stammering Support Centre, we aim for each individual

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to be able to say what they want to say, when they want to say it.

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..friends...

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As well as working with patients on a one-to-one basis,

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the centre runs group courses and self-help activities for all ages.

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..I was 11...

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'The teenagers are working on self-esteem

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'and confidence in their communication skills.'

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Friday is...

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For adults, it might be about reducing their avoidance,

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'getting them less sensitive to their stammering.'

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Well, as yet, I've been...

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The groups help individuals speak in challenging situations

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and manage their stammer effectively.

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'You have the support'

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of the other members of the group

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so you get a sense of the problem being normalised.

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It's just not my problem but it's one that other people have too.

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From social and support groups,

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advice on therapies, to guidance on employment issues,

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the BSA provide a range of vital services

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for adults and their families.

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They do as much as they can to enable everyone

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who is affected by a stammer to get the most out of life.

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The BSA helped Heidi through her studies, giving her guidance

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and support when she needed it the most.

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She has now fulfilled her ambition

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and is working as a clinical psychologist.

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The support

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that they gave me

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changed my life,

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Because now I'm doing

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a job that I love.

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With intervention through speech and language therapy

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before the age of five, children who stammer

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have the best possible chance of recovering normal fluent speech.

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-I think it's a Gruffalo.

-You think it's a Gruffalo!

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And that's exactly how the BSA helped Zachary.

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People who meet him for the first time now

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say they would never be able to tell that he was a stammerer.

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-The penguin!

-The penguin.

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'He'll chat away to people quite happily.'

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I saved that again, didn't I?

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And he's back to the happy, confident little boy

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that we had before.

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With your help, the British Stammering Association

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can make a real difference to the lives of adults

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and children who stammer throughout the UK,

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and ensure that everyone affected can get the support that they need.

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Please go to the website, where you can donate.

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If you don't have access to the internet, then call.

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And if you can't get through, please keep trying.

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You can also donate £10 by texting.

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to the British Stammering Association.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to The British Stammering Association

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and send it to: Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing "The British Stammering Association"

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on the back of the envelope.

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Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,

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the charity can collect Gift Aid on your donation, worth another 25%.

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Just send in a note to say you want your donation

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to be subject to Gift Aid, and include the date,

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your full name and address.

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Thank you.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Pop and musical theatre star Gareth Gates makes an appeal on behalf of the British Stammering Association, the UK's national charity that offers support to adults, children and families who are affected by stammering.

The film features four-year-old Zachary, who suddenly developed a severe stammer just after his third birthday, making him so distressed he felt he could not speak anymore. But with the help of the British Stammering Association, Zachary got the help he needed through early intervention speech and language therapy. He is now back to the happy, confident boy he was before.