Mark, who in part one of our three-part article wrote about his experience of having speech therapy in prison, gives us an update on how things have been after being released.
'My name is Mark. I had speech therapy while I was in prison and wrote my story about living with my stammer and my experience of speech therapy .
I can't believe how much having therapy in prison has changed my life. Before speech therapy I always hid away from occasions where I had to speak and spent most of my time on my own. This stopped me from getting the help I needed to leave prison, which people need to stop re-offending.
I'm really glad I had therapy in prison as I had lots of time to practise.
In the past, other people did my speaking for me but since I've been out of prison I do it for myself. I'm that confident I'm always making phone calls to strangers to sort out a flat and help to keep me out of prison. I can even go to the shops, have a full conversation with the staff and not care if I stammer, which I never would have done without having therapy.
I thought having therapy would have been impossible to do without falling back into my old ways, but I'm really glad I had it in prison as I had lots of time to practise. You spend a lot of your time locked in your cell, which was one of the keys to my therapy success.
Since I've been out I still notice a few people mimicking my stammer. Before, I used to hide away but now I'm confident enough to pull them up and tell them how it affects people like me who stammer, which I'm really happy that therapy taught me to do. I don’t let it bother me as they don't realise what they are doing.
If people reading this want proof that it works, just look at me and how much it has changed my life. I love my own voice now, although other people get sick of it as I don't shut up!
I hope teletherapy gets the funding to be accessible in prison as I found it easier to speak to Stephanie, my therapist, over the video link. It felt less intimidating than I think it would have been face to face, at least at first. If people reading this want proof that it works, just look at me and how much it has changed my life. I love my own voice now, which I hated before, although other people get sick of it as I don't shut up! I would like to thank Stephanie and the prison healthcare staff for changing my life for the better.
I hope this helps, as I would love to hear that other prisoners will get the chance I had to have a better life coping with their stammer. I would love to get the word out as far as I can, because if it helps one person I would be over the moon. That's the reason I have shared my experience of therapy, and I don't mind sharing it with anyone — the more people that read it the better, I hope. I just want other people to feel the joy I feel when I can speak openly and not care if I stammer.'
Teletherapy is available to adults across the UK if there is no NHS stammering therapy service in your area. See our Teletherapy page for more information.
This article was first published on our old website in December 2018. Photo: posed by a model.