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... more boys stammer than girls

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New training for 2018! Reaching In Reaching Out (RIRO): Building Resilience in Young Children and the professionals who support them

We are pleased to be offering a new and exciting training opportunity for all professionals working with children under the age of 8. The course aims to build resilience in professionals and the young children they work with. Please click here for more details.

Resilience helps people to handle stress, overcome childhood disadvantage, bounce back from adversity, seek help and take up opportunities. Resilience is associated with better health and greater success in school, jobs and relationships. Health, education and care professionals can make an important contibution in helping children to develop resilience. 

The course will be held at the Michael Palin Centre in London and run by Sarah Caughter, a highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at the Centre, and an official 'RIRO' trainer. 

To apply please complete this application form and return it to the Michael Palin Centre, along with your payment. 

Intensive Courses at the Michael Palin Centre - dates for 2018!

We run two group therapy programmes per year at the Michael Palin Centre for 10 to 14 year olds who stammer, and their parents or carers. We also run a summer group therapy programme for 15 to 19 year olds who stammer.

The next two week group therapy programme for young people who stammer aged 15 to 19 years old will run from 16th to 27th July 2018. For more information please click here

The next two week group therapy programme for children who stammer aged 10 to 14 years will run from 9th to 20th April 2018. We will also run one from 15th to 26th October 2018 For more information please click here.

If you are a parent or a therapist and you would like to refer a child or young person to the Centre please email us at mpc.admin@nhs.net or give us a call on 020 3316 8100.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Tribute to Joe Fulcher 1928 - 2017

The team at the Michael Palin Centre is mourning the loss of a wonderful supporter and friend, Joe Fulcher, who sadly died on 6th October 2017. In this photograph, Joe is at the Centre with Jane Fraser, his wife and the President of the Stuttering Foundation of America. Jane and Joe were celebrating the opening of the new Centre in July 2011 and this was taken in the Malcom Fraser therapy room, acknowledging the fantastic support of the Stuttering Foundation, whose founder was Malcolm Fraser.

Since 2006 the Stuttering Foundation has supported the therapy, teaching and research activity at the Michael Palin Centre, a wonderful partnership to ensure that children and young people are able to access specialist services.

Joe Fulcher was the architect of this partnership and, together with the Board of the Stuttering Foundation, subsequently monitored our activity and reports, ensuring the highest standards of governance. Joe’s attention to detail and professionalism made this potentially complex process a source of exciting opportunities and a wonderful international collaboration.

Joe was a true gentleman, with a courtesy and gentleness that belied his formidable intellect and range of financial and legal skills. He also had a generous heart for the work to help those who stutter, grasping the complexities of the challenges of such work and despite his extensive experience, remaining open-minded to new possibilities.

Joe was wonderful company, with a ready wit and gentle charm. His conversation was always stimulating, and he showed a genuine interest as he listened to others.  We shall miss him so much and extend our deepest sympathies to Jane and to the wider family. The world is a poorer place without Joe Fulcher.

Colin Firth and Ed Balls host a private screening of Kingsman: The Golden Circle to raise funds for Action for Stammering Children


Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth and Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Strictly star, hosted a private screening of Kingsman: The Golden Circle to raise funds for Action for Stammering Children (ASC), the largest charity in the UK dedicated to transforming the lives of children and young people who stammer.

The audience were thrilled by the latest Matthew Vaughn  action thriller Kingsman: The Golden Circle.  A memorable death in the first instalment Kingsman: The Secret Service, did not prevent Colin returning for a sequel as the stylish Hart; the audience were one of the first to know the  closely guarded secret about how he survived.  

On the night, ASC raised just under £40,000 to help support specialist speech and language therapy for children and young people who stammer. 

Prior to viewing the film the audience enjoyed a Q&A with Colin and Ed, both talking movingly about their experiences of stammering:

Colin Firth, Vice President of Action for Stammering Children, said:

“The King’s Speech taught me not only the cruelty of having a stammer, but also the life-changing benefits specialist therapy can bring. Just as Lionel Logue unleashed the passion of a King, so too Action for Stammering Children is unlocking the potential of thousands of children in the UK every year.”

Fellow ASC Vice President and Former Shadow Chancellor of Exchequer, Ed Balls, who has a stammer added:

"As someone who had help and support in dealing with my own stammer, I share ASC’s aim of making sure every child gets the chance to learn to cope with theirs, so they can achieve their full potential with confidence."

Jo Hunter Chair of Action for Stammering Children, added:

“We are so honoured to have Vice Presidents Colin and Ed host this amazing evening, which has been generously sponsored, so every penny raised will go directly to Action for Stammering Children.  Last year we transformed the lives of more than 4,000 children and young people across the UK who stammer, all of whom have a voice, and all of whom have a right to be heard.  Our small charity can make a big difference to the lives and opportunities of all children who stammer.”

Ed Balls appointed vice-president of Action for Stammering Children

Ed Balls has been appointed vice-president of Action for Stammering Children (ASC), the UK charity which supports children and young people who stammer.  The former Labour MP and Shadow Chancellor has been a supporter of the charity for many years and regularly meets children and young people to talk about the challenges of living with a stammer.  He is an active fundraiser for the charity, running marathons and speaking at fundraising events.   His book Speaking Out addresses his personal journey and the challenges he faces in public life of having a stammer.

Commenting on his appointment, Ed said: 

"I was thrilled to be asked to become a vice-president of ASC, a brilliant charity which I have been involved with for many years.  It’s important that children and young people who stammer see people in public life who have managed to overcome their stammer, so that they know it doesn’t have to hold you back or stop you doing the things you want to do."

Action for Stammering Children funds specialist assessments and therapy for children who stammer at the Michael Palin Centre in London, as well as intensive courses, training for speech and language therapists, and research into the causes and treatment of stammering in children.   Ed Balls joins two other high profile figures as vice-presidents of the charity  – Michael Palin and Colin Firth.   ASC Chair Jo Hunter said:

 "Most people know Ed Balls as a politician but we know him as someone who gives his time generously to talk to children and young people about stammering, The misconceptions of having a stammer are still very much embedded into society and Ed’s public role has helped address these misconceptions giving children and their families belief that no child should be held back because of their stammer"

Ed Balls is currently a Senior Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Visiting Professor at King’s College London.  He is also Chairman of Norwich City Football Club.

Charitably funded training courses and supervision bursaries available for 2016/17

For the fifth year running, Action for Stammering Children and The Emily Hughes Hallett Fund are offering individual charitably-funded bursaries to qualified speech and language therapists in the UK who are interested in developing their skills in working with children under 7 who stammer. They are also supporting three Palin PCI training courses to be held around the UK, in particular to those for whom travel costs for training in London would be prohibitive.

Click here to find out more about the individual charitably-funded bursaries.

Click here to find out more about the Palin PCI training courses. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Schools campaign

Young people who stammer often struggle at school because there is so little information available about stammering and how best to respond.  The ASC Youth Panel members hope that by talking about their own experience they will improve people's understanding of the condition and make it easier for other young people who stammer to receive the support they need.  If you would like your own school to be involved in the campaign, please contact ASC on facebook or call 0203 316 8113.

We're hiring- Chief Executive at Action for Stammering Children

We are currently embarking on a new stage of development and are looking for a dynamic chief executive to lead this exciting challenge. The successful candidate will have strong leadership skills combined with hands-on delivery skills, proven experience of partnership working, and a commitment to supporting children and young people who stammer and their families. This is an ideal role for a self-motivated individual looking to make a positive impact in an important area of children’s communication, where timely intervention can be life changing.

For more information about the role go to the Charity Jobs website

The Third Croatian Clinical Symposium to be held in Cavtat, Croatia between 2-5 October 2016

The third Croatian Clinical Symposium is to be held in Cavtat, Croatia between 2-5 October 2016.

The Symposium is designed to attract clinicians and researchers with the theme of stuttering research informing practice.

The 2016 Symposium will pursue that theme, with topics that immediately and directly influence clinical practice.

To view the brochure click here.



Action for Stammering Children’s (ASC) co-founder and Life President, Travers Reid, has received an Honorary Fellowship from the notable Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

Since 1945 the RCSLT has used its annual honours awards to acknowledge the achievements of its members and those who have contributed outstanding services to speech and language therapy. 

This year (2015), the RCSLT has chosen ASC’s co-founder and Life President, Travers Reid.  Travers was a prominent businessman and is co-founder of Action for Stammering Children. His experiences of childhood stammering convinced him of the need for a centre to help children who stammer which has now become the world renowned centre for excellence in therapy for children and young people who stammer, the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering.

The Honorary Fellowship award acknowledges and honours non speech and language therapists (SLTs) and SLTs from overseas who have contributed outstanding services to speech and language therapy and for the benefit of those with communication disabilities. Holders in this category can use the designatory letters 'Hon FRCSLT' after their names.

In receiving this honour, Travers Reid, has said:

Being a lifelong stammerer I had always  hoped that I could do something to help the many children who suffered with the same disability as me. When I retired from business I finally had the opportunity to fulfil my dream. Little did I realise when I first set up the organisation so many years ago that it would grow into the centre of excellence it has become.

I was very fortunate to work with so many talented and dedicated people to achieve my goal.

I am honoured and delighted to receive this Honorary Fellowship from the RCSLT.

The Head of the Michael Palin Centre, Elaine Kelman, consultant speech and language therapist, made this wonderful honour possible by nominating Travers, and she said:

This award marks the unique contribution made to the world of stammering by this very special man. Travers has stammered throughout his life and received no therapy, but he was anxious that today’s children should receive the help that he would have found so beneficial. Without his vision and dedication, this national service for children who stammer would not exist. Travers was also instrumental in Michael Palin’s involvement with the charity, culminating in the Centre bearing Michael’s name.  Travers shows his genuine commitment and interest by visiting the Centre regularly, sharing his experiences with the children and their parents, providing an inspirational role model. His contribution to speech and language therapy services for children who stammer is unquantifiable and fully deserving of this special recognition

The Charity is delighted its co-founder, Travers, has been acknowledged with such an accolade and the Chief Executive, Balshen Izzet, said:

“It fills us with tremendous pride that the Charity’s co-founder, Travers Reid, remains a significant presence in the speech and language community.  Travers’ commitment and dedication, particularly to children and young people who stammer, is incredibly inspiring.  Without his foresight and enthusiasm 25 years ago to form the Charity and support services in speech and language therapy for children who stammer, we may not have had the Michael Palin Centre.

Travers remains a huge presence at the Charity and we are very grateful for all his support in the work we do to help reach as many children and young people in the UK who stammer.”

The RCSLT will be presenting the award to Travers at their annual award ceremony at the University of Warwick in October 2015.  Maria Luscombe, Chair of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists said:

“We are delighted to award Travers Reid an honorary fellowship for his contribution to speech and language therapy. Over almost 25 years he has championed the profession by working to ensure that all children who stammer are able to communicate to the best of their ability, thus realising their full potential. This dedication and continued support has made him an inspirational role model both to children who stammer and their families and speech and language therapists.”

For media enquiries please contact: Balshen Izzet on Bizzet@stammeringcentre.org or call 020 3316 8113

Notes to editors:

1)      Action for Stammering Children (ASC) commissions the delivery of specialist services that transform the lives of children and young people who stammer at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children.

2)      The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is the professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK - http://www.rcslt.org/

3)      Travers Reid is the Life President and Co-Founder of Action for Stammering Children, the charity which he founded with Lena Rustin in 1991. His lifelong experience of stammering motivated him to set up the charity to help children who stammer in the UK. Travers was then responsible for involving Michael Palin, which led to the naming and opening of the Centre in 1993

4)      Stammering is a severe communication disability which impairs social, emotional and educational development. Estimates suggest that 5% of children will stammer at some point and approximately 1% continue to stammer into adulthood. Stammering is 3 to 4 times more common in boys than in girls. While stammering is outwardly characterised by repetitions, prolongations and blocking of sounds, these core behaviours can be accompanied by feelings of isolation, frustration and embarrassment

5)      Over the last 10 years, ASC has committed £1 million to pioneering research

6)      ASC has supported 3,000 children in the last year by supporting training of up to 500 speech and language therapists

7)      Almost 150,000 children and young people in the UK have a persistent stammer