ISAD 2021: Representation

A television camera

12th October 2021

Our campaign for International Stammering Awareness Day (ISAD) 2021.

This ISAD, on Friday 22nd October, we call upon media organisations around the world to ensure that on television and on the radio we hear people who stammer. Not just when the subject of stammering comes up, but throughout the year, every year. 

Stammering is how some people talk. It has nothing to do with intelligence or articulacy. Between 50-70 million people around the world stammer, from the President of the USA down. Yet, apart from hearing the President, hearing people who stammer on the radio or television is rare, if not unknown.  
This leads to a vicious cycle.

  • People who stammer rarely know anyone else who stammers. They often feel ashamed of stammering. Consequently, they will try and hide their stammer and change how they talk.
  • People who don't stammer are often taken by surprise by hearing someone block or repeat sounds and simply don't know how to respond. They might smirk, giggle, make suggestions or assume the speaker is drunk. Or simply cut them off mid-sentence.

No Diversity without disfluency

With our 'No Diversity Without Disfluency' campaign, we are asking all of our national TV and media channels to collect information not simply about gender, sex, ethnicity and disability generally — but also about stammering and to start thinking about how their Diversity & Inclusivity procedures include stammering.

We live in a word where scant consideration is given to those who stammer — in large part because there is no visibility in society of those who stammer. Whether in education, at work or in services, we see the absolute expectation of the ability to constantly say one's name and speak fluidly as the norm.  As a result, policies or consideration made for people who stammer rarely exists.

Every public-facing service should be accessible to those who stammer. Whether ordering food, holding oral exams, from recruitment to assessments, whether in hospital, in court or in a job centre, please consider and make room for those who stammer. 

Imagine a world without Lewis Carroll, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe or Alan Turing. Or even a world without Bruce Willis and the Die Hard films. They're all people who stammer. We can't afford to miss and waste talent, to waste lives by preventing people from fulfilling their ambition.

So, if you work in the media or have any dealings with the public at all, let's hear it from those who stammer, and by giving representation and consideration to them we can create a world where stammering is normalised and everyone's voice is heard.

In the meantime, we're giving notice. We've launched a petition aimed at (currently) 11 major media organisations, calling upon them to include people who stammer in their programming. We'll track progress over the next year and get back to you.

Read more about our No Diversity Without Disfluency ISAD campaign.

Please consider making a donation to STAMMA.