10th March 2023
A new guide for healthcare workers who stammer that can help the wider stammering community with job-based oral exams and interviews.
Few people would say they enjoy exams or job interviews that involve speaking, role-play and scenario-based assessments. But people who stammer often face added pressures.
These include time pressures — they might not be able to finish what they want to say. Also, many examiners still do not understand what stammering is. They might wrongly believe it shows a lack of knowledge, preparation or clear thinking. As a result, people who stammer can be at a disadvantage.
STAMMA and the NHS Stammering Network have worked together to level the playing field.
We have produced a guide that can help people who stammer ask for changes, or 'reasonable adjustments', to how exams are structured and marked. Adjustments can include things like asking for extra time to say what you want to say. By accommodating these changes, examiners can see what people who stammer are really capable of.
The guide is mainly aimed at people applying for scenario-based professional exams in the health sector. These exams are called Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, or OSCEs. But the points will be helpful for anyone else who wants to get reasonable adjustments to interviews and oral exams for their stammer.
We are delighted that this guidance has been published. It is based on practical experience helping people get the reasonable adjustments that they are legally entitled to.
There are two parts to the guide:
- A general introduction (for people who stammer)
- A guide for the person supporting your request for reasonable adjustments.
The introductory document is aimed at people who stammer who are preparing for a healthcare scenario-based exam. Although we expect it will also be useful for interviews or exams in other industries that involve talking under time constraints.
- It gives examples of reasonable adjustments that others have asked for and which you might find useful for your own exam.
- It talks about some of the hoops that you have to jump through and the terminology you might use.
- Plus, it describes a five-step process for getting your reasonable adjustment.
The second supporting document is for professionals who have been asked to write a report supporting your request for reasonable adjustments. This can include speech therapists, HR managers, GPs, etc.
Obviously this report varies depending on each individual and exam or interview. But a typical report can include:
- How the Equality Act 2010 relates to stammering.
- Background information about stammering and common misunderstandings about stammering.
- What the examiners might see and hear when the candidate stammers.
- How the exam situation disadvantages the stammering candidate.
- The reasonable adjustments being requested.
It also includes information on how to structure a report and a selection of example letters and templates with supporting notes.
You can download both parts of the guide below.