Helping businesses to understand stammers

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A man who has suffered with a stammer since he was seven years old is at the centre of a drive to raise awareness of the issue in workplaces.

Derek Bowler, of Dewsbury, was his company’s representative at the launch of a new Employer Stammering Network at the House of Commons.

The event was attended by shadow cabinet minister Ed Balls – who has a stammer himself – and representatives of many of Britain’s biggest and best-known companies.

Mr Bowler, who works for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “I’m involved in a group of large employers that have come together with the aim of making people understand the impact of stammering and, for employers, how to actually deal with it.

“It’s not how you say things – it’s what you say that should be the key and for people that stammer, usually stressful situations [such as work] can bring on a stammer.”

To help him deal with his own stammer, Mr Bowler, of Oxford Park, has been involved in the McGuire Programme, which offers treatment for stammerers.

He hopes that his knowledge of that treatment programme can be used to help businesses better understand the challenges their employees face if they stammer.

“As a stammerer, if you are in work, you try and hide it, but that’s the worst thing you can do because you will stammer more,” he said.

For more on the McGuire Programme, visit www.mcguireprogramme.com.