Face masks and my 'I stammer' card

The article's author, Danny Adams

3rd August 2020

Danny Adams shows us the card he made for letting customers know that he stammers when wearing a face mask.

My name is Danny, I'm an assistant manager at a shop and my job involves a lot of face-to-face sales and answering or solving questions from customers over the phone. I stammer, which I've had ever since I can remember.

When I heard the news that it was going to be mandatory to wear a face mask in shops, the first thing I thought about was my stammer — how would it be affected by the mask and how would people know that I am struggling behind it? 

I thought, how would people know that I am struggling behind a mask?

I had an experience a few days before, where I had a customer trying to rush me while I was stuck on a word and making a rolling arm gesture as if to say 'hurry up', which put more pressure on me to get the word out. I didn't want that situation to be repeated. That's when I came up with the idea of making a small sign that I could show to my customers instead of struggling to tell them through the mask that I have a stammer. So I went ahead and made one. It's a little debit card-sized sign that I laminated and have hanging off of my name badge, saying 'I have a stammer. Please be patient'.

Danny, showing us his 'I stammer' card

After showing customers the card, I have had only good reactions and conversations about me, my stammer and the reasoning behind making it.

I use the card mostly in work when I’m approaching my customers to ask if they need help and I point to it, so that once I start talking they are fully aware that I have a stammer and could block randomly on words. 

After showing customers the card, I have had only good reactions and conversations about me, my stammer and the reasoning behind making it, along with feedback on how great the idea is.

If you decide to make one too, I hope this little card makes a big difference in the stammering world and helps others face their daily challenges.

Inspired by Danny's idea, we've adapted our 'I Stammer' card for the current situation and made it free to download to your smartphones or devices. Click here to download a card now.  

For more information on the laws around wearing face masks and how they relate to people who stammer, as well as tips and suggestions, see our Face coverings article.

Danny's wearing one of our 'I stammer' t-shirts in the picture. If you fancy getting your hands on one, they're available to buy at our online shop.

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