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The British Stammering Association (BSA) is the UK's national charity for adults and children who stammer. Founded in 1978 by adults who stammer and speech and language therapists, the charity has been providing accurate and unbiased information and support on all aspects of stammering for over 30 years, particularly through its websites, www.stammering.org and www.stammeringineducation.net, a dedicated helpline and a specialist education helpline.
BSA has run successful campaigns for early intervention and is a nationally recognized partner in shaping policy.
Norbert Lieckfeldt started as a volunteer on the BSA helpdesk in 1993 as part of his own programme of speech therapy. He has been chief executive of the BSA since 2001.
Norbert was a member of the advisory panel of the Bercow Review into speech and language therapy services for children, was a Board Member of The Communication Trust between 2011 and 2014, and is a Governor of the East London NHS Foundation Trust.
Leys Geddes runs a marketing consultancy, which he opened after being dismissed for stammering. He has run campaigns for a wide variety of companies, but now concentrates on difficult-to-discuss healthcare conditions, working with several GlaxoSmithKline brands, Leightons HearingCare, Leightons Opticians and the NHS. He is Immediate Past Chair of the BSA.
Few people know that the root cause of stammering is a neurological flaw. So in many ways it's similar to dyslexia but, instead of making it difficult to read or write, it makes it difficult to control the fluency of our speech. But, of course, it's easier to avoid writing than to avoid speaking. So stammering is a rather worse condition, not just because speech is such a vital thing in life, but also because of the stigma and misconceptions. Yet we are just as capable as the next person.
Although half a million adults stammer and a further 4 million are affected by some other communication impairment, most employers have done nothing about stammering and speech, usually because there has been no apparent demand. When you understand stammering, you will understand why.
As the only network of its kind in the world, the Employers Stammering Network (ESN) supports employers and employees who stammer in fulfilling their career potential. Our members include Accenture, EY, HSBC, Lloyds, Prudential and Shell. If you have any queries, please contact Leys Geddes, the Ambassador for the ESN, on [email protected]