UCC professor shares his experience of having a stammer and offers advice to others

UCC professor shares his experience of having a stammer and offers advice to others

Professor Ivan Perry, Professor of Public Health and Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at UCC. Picture Denis Minihane.

A UCC professor has spoken about his experience of living with a stammer.

Professor Ivan Perry, Professor of Public Health and Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at UCC spoke to Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning and commended a woman who had spoken on the show yesterday about her experience of having a stammer.

"I was moved by her interview," said Professor Perry. 

"I was saddened to hear that she had experienced rudeness and mocking from time to time.

"Her interview highlighted some of the intolerance and stigma that still surrounds stammering," he continued.

Professor Perry said that whilst he has not experienced a great degree of hardship for having a stammer, many people do suffer a "significant amount of mockery".

He added that things have improved as he has gotten older, but that he still experiences challenging days.

"It can still be challenging from time to time lecturing or indeed doing interviews or if I’m giving a talk at a major conference I have to put in a lot more work in terms of preparation than if I didn’t stammer but overall it has become much easier as I’ve got older," he said.

Professor Perry encouraged people not to be embarrassed about their stammer.

By way of advice to other people with a stammer, Professor Perry said:

"It’s very important if you have a stammer to continuously expand your speaking comfort zone because if you don’t it can become restricted quite rapidly.

"It is important to go to the shop and be prepared to stammer in public and quietly and with dignity insist that people wait and give you a minute to finish saying what you are saying."

Professor Perry also advised parents with children who have a stammer to explore the option of speech and language therapy. 

"With appropriate referral and treatment disfluency in early childhood can now be very well managed and managed in a way that can prevent lifelong stammering," he said. 

More in this section

Sponsored Content