Words don't fail Adrian now
A Wigan man with autism who struggled to speak on the phone due to a stammer has been thrown a lifeline which has helped to improve his communication skills and confidence.
Adrian Speakman was referred to the Adult Learning Disability Service in December 2016 by his GP.
The service, run by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, works with people over the age of 18 with a learning disability to improve their health, personal well-being and ability to self-care.
It aims to meet the individual physical and mental health needs of clients through specialist nursing assessments, support to improve their communication skills and making referrals to other relevant NHS services.
Ashleigh Griffiths-Rawstron, a speech and language therapist in Wigan’s adult learning disabilities team, works with adults struggling with communication and/or swallowing difficulties.
She started meeting Adrian for regular one-to-one sessions from December 2016.
Ashleigh said: “Stammering can get better or worse depending on various factors such as stress, anxiety, and different situations.
“Stammering can also impact on social communication skills and emotional wellbeing due to embarrassment and avoidance of communication.”
Adrian wanted to reduce his embarrassment if he did stammer, and improve his speaking on the phone as this was when his stammer was worse.
Ashleigh provided the Shevington 25-year-old with information about stammering, helped him with breathing exercises and useful techniques in dealing with stressful situations.
She also helped Adrian to practise speaking on the phone and provided him with a useful pack of information and cue cards to refer back to.
Adrian said of the speech and language therapy he has received: “It has helped me with breathing techniques, dealing with my feelings about stammering, helped me with speaking on the phone and writing down what I wanted to say when I could not get the words out.
“Ashleigh completed a step-by-step chart for me to help me deal with my stammering and gave me a prompt card to help me to remember what to do when I am in a stressful situation.
“It has fitted the missing jigsaw puzzle for me.
“It’s helped me to communicate much more freely.
“Stammering is like being in a dark room.
“Working with Ashleigh is like a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ashleigh said: “I have enjoyed working with Adrian and it has been great to see his confidence improving when communicating.
“The resources I have given Adrian will be able to support him in the future, and I hope he continues to feel like he can communicate freely.”
If you or a family member would like help from the Adult Learning Disability Service please contact 01942 483560 or go online for more details