Doncaster Stammering Association spread message of self love and acceptance to American visitors

A group of American students visited a Doncaster self-help group to increase their knowledge of a condition that affects 1 in 20 children under the age of 12 in the UK.

Fifteen speech and language students from the University of Michigan and their professor Paul Cook spent the day at Darts arts centre meeting members of Doncaster Stammering Association.

Doncaster Stammering Association and students from the USA at Doncaster train station.

Doncaster Stammering Association and students from the USA at Doncaster train station.

Member John Atkins, of Scawthorpe, who has been a member of the DSA since 2014, ran the London marathon and raised over £1,000 for the group which supported him.

He said: “The emotional effects of stammering is low self-esteem, low confidence and feeling very isolated at times.

"You feel like you can’t communicate with people, even though you can. You close yourself off from the world as if in a bubble. It can be quite a lonely place at times.”

John alongside other members shared their personal journeys struggles through speeches, presentations and games.

Doncaster Stammering Association special t-shirts with contact info.

Doncaster Stammering Association special t-shirts with contact info.

Chair Bob Adams, said: “ We are proud to host our American friends. They are having a taste of what we do in the self-help group. It’s not about not stammering or using a technique it’s about developing good communication skills.”

Trevor Bradley gave a passionate speech about the topic of self-compassion and how being a part of the DSA has changed his life.

He said: “The group has taught me that it’s okay to stammer, you're in a safe environment.”

Dr Cook, who is an expert in the field of speech and language, gave a presentation on the negative side effects of stammering, which included an uplifting message of hope for the future.

This is the third year that he has brought a group of his students over from the US to Doncaster.

“Doncaster is a lovely area and the people are very friendly and warm.

It seems like a community oriented place and the people we have met have opened their arms to us every time we’ve visited,” he said.

Jamie Harwood, DSA group leader, encouraged anyone with a stammer to join the group: “If you're interested in getting some support I would definitely say try our self-help group.

“You won’t be disappointed, anyone that comes on a regular basis will become a better communicator.”

If you're interested in joining the DSA you can contact Bob Adams on: 07944550540 or visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DoncasterStammeringAssociation/