Abed Ahmed is a teacher from Birmingham. He began to stammer from the age of four, and struggled at school due to lack of support. Abed took GCSE drama and he felt that this was a great tool in helping towards dealing with stammer and helped with his confidence. At age 19, he started working with a speech and language therapist, and his confidence flourished.
“That therapy helped me begin the journey of embracing my stammer and accepting that it’s part of who I am,” he says. “Getting the right professional support has enabled me to begin a career that absolutely depends on having confidence in your ability to communicate clearly.” ”I realised that I stopped thinking about my stammer once I stopped caring about what people think. I now control what was once controlling me. So, raising awareness is invaluable – the more people are aware of stammering, the easier it becomes for stammerers.” Abed says he was often teased at school which made things hard for him. He said that his parents would just tell him to speak slowly but he never felt that stammering was fully understood.
It was whilst Abed was in the sixth from at school that he decided to get help. It took him almost a year for this help to be received. He said that just being able to open up and talk to someone who understood made him realise that he could deal with the stammer. He said that it made him believe that if he didn’t care about his stammer and stop worrying about what other people felt this was a great start.
Abed took his degree and became a Maths teacher. He had been told that with a stammer he would never be able to be a teacher. This didn’t put him off and he persevered. He is now a teacher at his former secondary school, and has set up a Stammer Support Group to empower today’s students who have a speech impediment, and to help them to find their own voice. In the Stammer Support Sessions he has included drama, role play, interview help and other areas that he feels will benefit those in the class.
In an article about Abed he says “This is what teaching is all about – making a difference to a child’s life. I believe I was a role model to these pupils as I myself have a stammer and thus can relate to how difficult it can be to deal with stammering on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately I piloted these sessions because I aim to give all pupils a voice. It is important that all students of all abilities have a positive mind-set and the confidence that is needed to achieve their goals despite having a stammer. The impact of such sessions on their personal development and confidence has been colossal. Pupils have flourished in character as a result of the sessions. I have found it a gratifying experience, particularly because I can relate to their struggles. As a pupil I felt isolated and nervous because I was not given the support I needed throughout the vital years of development. These pupils now have access to means of support at an outstanding establishment.
I am going to be leading on more projects in the upcoming academic year at my school. I want to raise more awareness amongst the staff in school, and want to help pupils further with their confidence in speech and language. I will be doing this by publishing a stammering awareness video which I have created with my pupils” This video can be found at https://youtu.be/nalMre18ruA. The video has reached places far and wide.
Ed Balls tweeted “Watch some really brave young people explaining why their stammers aren’t going to stop them. Great video Mr Ahmed !” Great British Bake Off Winner Nadiya tweeted “What an inspirational bunch of kids!!! So much love to them and all the hard work you do xx”
In the following link Abed gets the children with a stammer to talk to their year group for the very first time to try and explain their individual story and how they would like to be treated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L53vhcRaBvo&t=74s
Stammering affects 1% of adults and almost 5% of children. Hopefully by sharing this story we can help others realise their dreams and realise that a stammer does not close doors and it is for the individual to find the key to future successes. After researching this story the one thing that I have taken from this is for people who stammer, they should try to stammer with confidence and not let this affect their ambitions and if in our daily lives we meet those who stammer to let them finish what they are saying and not interrupt them or finish their sentences.
You can’t be a teacher if you have stammer!!!! You proved them wrong Abed Ahmed (teacher).