Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s Speech and Language Team work with local schools post COVID to support pupils with a stammer difficulty

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the wellbeing and mental health of students who have previously struggled with speech and language difficulties, particularly those with a stammer.

Our Health Board’s Speech and Language Team recently worked with Ynysboeth Primary School, Mardy Primary School, Saints Gabriel and Raphael RC Primary School, Penybont Primary School and Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Penderyn to support students with a stammer.   Over four speech and language therapy sessions, each student received clinic and online based sessions, as well as one to one support.  Some attended group sessions to develop their understanding of stammering and communicative confidence. Afterwards all five pupils presented to their class on ‘Helping Pupils who Stammer’.

Lowri Roberts, Speech and Language Therapist at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB said: “The ethos of the service is to make pupils, their teachers and carers realise that pupils who stammer can be confident, competent communicators whether they stammer or not.

 “All schools who have pupils who stammer receive online training from myself on how to support children who stammer – therefore we are empowering those who are closest to the child to make a real difference.

 “The self-esteem of students who stammer can be very low so it’s really important to link with schools as well as parents. One of the pupils who received speech therapy went on to present to the full school assembly via MS Teams; this inspired another student to do a joint presentation at his school, and another student presented through the medium of Welsh to his school – this was a huge achievement for the boys.   The boys gained 'Head Teacher Awards' and ‘Star of the Week Awards’ as recognition for all their hard work and efforts.”

Jane Piper, Head Teacher at  Ynysboeth Primary School said: “The service to our pupils have been invaluable.  A recent presentation by one our students Jaxon showed how much his confidence has grown.  Although he was quite nervous to start with, by the end he was answering questions and networking the room talking to the other children who were asking him questions.  I am so proud of the pupils.”

Gemma Bisagn-I Carpanini from SS Gabriel & Raphael RC Primary School said: “The presentation that both boys shared helped to raise the profile and awareness of stammering. It was a pleasure to see both boys mix well with each other and the rest of the class.” 

Donovan Bridgeman from Penybont Primary added:  “I just wanted to thank Lowri from the Speech and Language Team for coming in today to help our student Harry deliver his presentation. I think it’s an incredibly valuable service you provide and I wish it was a more common service in regards to other conditions. I think having a specialist in the room not only increased his confidence but also helped the other children to understand that stammering is a legitimate condition that can really affect people quite deeply if they aren’t supported in the right way.”ug

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