London news Lockdown and face masks impact on young Londoners who have a stammer Uk news
MetiNews.Com - Stammering affects 8 per cent of children and 1 in 100 adults, and lockdown has made communicating even harder
Breaking News ! There's no denying the impact that lockdown has had on everyone's social lives, but it has been especially hard for people who have a stammer. For many people who stammer, nerves, anxiety and reduced social contact cause it to worsen, and the lack of social interaction throughout the pandemic has led to a big step back in progressing with their speech. William Laven, 22, has had a stammer his whole life. He has made phenomenal progress in overcoming his speech impediment, but lockdown has proved a barrier to improvement. William has just completed an apprenticeship in Business Administration with WhiteHat in London, while working at Publicis Media as an Operations Executive. As Covid took hold, he had to finish his apprenticeship on Zoom and switched to working from home. For more news and features about London directly to your inbox sign up to our newsletter here . Download the MyLondon app Get the latest London news straight on your phone without having to open your browser - and get all the latest breaking news as notifications on your screen. The MyLondon app gives you all the stories you need to help you keep on top of what's happening in the best city ever. You can download it on Android here and Apple here. "One of the things I realised was that because I wasn't talking as much, my stammer was quite bad and I was also stammering on new things, on new words," he said. "So I thought, 'now is the time for me to really practice on my stammer'." Difficulties making phone calls Phone and video calls have been a lifeline for people throughout lockdown, but for William, talking on the phone is very difficult. He said: "I used to hate picking up the phone, because I sometimes stammer saying hello, and that's the first thing you say when you pick up a call. So I realised that I had to find ways to conquer my biggest fear, which was picking up the phone.
. They'd say, 'hello, are you there?', and I was trying to say hello but my stammer was holding me back." William describes his speech as being "like an old car," where you have to warm it up and turn the engine over before it kicks into gear. "If I've not spoken to people during the day, I'd definitely be worse, compared to having meetings back-to-back all day. "When I used to commute, my warming up stage was at Pret getting my morning coffee, talking to the baristas, and then my voice would be warmed up and ready to talk at the office."
William says that talking frequently and being sociable helps ease his stammer, but that's been hard to do in lockdown
(Image: William Laven)
William is one of many people who have found that their stammer has got worse over lockdown - the charity Action for Stammering Children reported a 57.6 per cent increase in calls to its helpline in April to June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. A statement from the charity says that stammering "disrupts verbal fluency and can result in difficulty getting the words out." It continued: "Stammering can have a significant impact on a child’s social experiences and mental health. Children who stammer are more likely to be bullied, rejected by their peers and are at risk of facing societal stigma into adulthood." Stammering affects children more than adults, and according to the NHS website two in three children who stammer will grow out of it, though this often takes a lot of hard work.
William with Michael Palin, who founded the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering with the support of Action for Stammering Children
(Image: William Laven)
William said he combats his stammer through a routine of exercises, such as reading passages of text out loud very slowly until he no longer stammers on certain letters or syllables. Having goals throughout lockdown, such as hosting a number of quizzes for his team, has helped him stay on track and build his confidence, despite the lack of in-person communication. While talking on the phone has been a particular challenge, talking face-to-face during the pandemic has been very difficult too.
Source = MetiNews.Com