European League of Stuttering Associations

ELSA, Zülpicher Str. 58 D-50674 Köln, Germany
Tel. +49 221 139 1106    fax + 49 221 139 1370
ELSA, 31 Grosvenor Road, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 2RL, Great Britain
Tel. +44 191 281 8003    fax+44 191 281 8003

ELSA Speeches and Presentations

EYPD congress in Athens, June 13 - 14 2003

The speech of Edwin J. Farr MBE, chair of ELSA

Good evening

I'd like to thank the organisers for inviting me here to talk to you.

First of all I'd like to introduce myself – I'm Edwin Farr from the European League of Stuttering Associations and I am a person who stutters.

I'm going to talk for about 5 minutes on how stuttering is portrayed in the media, how I think it could be portrayed – and then I'm going to show an award winning short film of about 15 minutes which I hope will show that stuttering does not need to be a taboo subject.

Let's give you a bit of background to stuttering – about 1% of the adult population stutter – so that means if there are 200 of you here then there are two stutterers. That's me then so there's another one out there!

But let's have a think about that – 1% of the population – how many casts have 1 % of the characters with a stutter. So how true to life are dramas then. How many documentaries are made about stuttering – 1%? I don't think so.

Stutterers would fully accept that it can be difficult to write in a character who has a stutter, or interview one for a documentary - and I'm thinking here of broadcast media – there are obvious problems around how much time you could have a camera focussed on one person trying to get a word out.

Also, as it's not a visible disability there may need to be repeated explanations or background given for the character. It's not like wheelchair = can't walk – what visible sign = can't talk.

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