Veronica Lynch, Chairperson
Veronica Lynch has stammered for as long as she has been talking and from an early age she learned to use many tricks and avoidances so people wouldn’t find out she stammered. It was only when her youngest daughter also began stammering that Veronica decided to deal with her own stutter. Now, 6 years after attending her first speech therapy on the Dublin Adult Stammering intensive course she is an active member and chairperson of the Irish Stammering Association promoting awareness and support for people who stammer.
Veronica regularly attends the Dublin Support Group meetings and has been on the committee of the ISA since November 2008; she currently holds the position of Honorary Treasurer.
Through her daughter Bevin, she has a special interest in support for children who stammer and was instrumental, along with Jonathon Linklater and Cathal Quinn, in setting up the ISA children’s drama project, ISAYiT! She is also involved in establishing a support network for parents of children who stammer.
Sarah McCormack, Finance Officer
Having stammered from early childhood, I developed a ‘covert’ form of stuttering where avoidance, word-substitution and denial strategies are used to hide the stuttering behaviour and pass as fluent. In 2002, I went on the Patrick Kelly intensive stammering management course, a vital first stepping stone towards my acceptance of being a person who stammers.
A psychology graduate from UCD, I worked in project management at Microsoft for 12 years before leaving to look after my two children. In 2012, I completed a Master’s in Health Psychology with Ulster University, my dissertation focussed on emotional support in stammering. I have a special interest in the role of support and coping skills for people who stammer. Now living in Portlaoise, I facilitate the Midlands Support Group, I organise the monthly Phone Support Group for Women who stammer, and am Finance Officer with the ISA.
David Heney, Secretary
David Heney was born in Dublin in 1972. He has had a stammer as long as he can remember. A member of the ISA since 2006, he has been attending the self-help group in Dublin since then. He completed the Dublin Adult Stuttering (DAS) course run by the HSE in early 2007. A graduate of University College Dublin, he holds a masters degree in accountancy. He lives in Sandyford, Dublin, and works as a civil servant.
I have been stammering for as long as I can remember. The times I remember most were when I was being ridiculed or put under time pressure to talk by other children and sometimes by adults. Like many others who stutter, my difficulty became poignantly apparent to me when I first started secondary school. I remember vividly the first day in class waiting for my turn to come as the teacher went around the room asking people to stand up, say their name and then read out loud – which can be a nightmare for a person who stutters.
The ridicule began as soon as that class ended which greatly increased my associated feelings of self-loathing, confusion, fear, helplessness and avoidance of speaking situations. I was the only one in the school exempt from auditioning for plays, debating etc. all contributing to this terrible feeling of being ‘different’. Thoughts of facing college as a person with a severe stutter contributed to me sinking into a deep depression, treated with medications and visits to a psychiatrist. I later quit college because I was not able to link how I saw myself as a PWS with the image I had of the professional I was expected to become. I allowed this negative self-image to limits on what I saw possible for myself for too many years.
However, several therapies later and a good deal of personal work on my part paid off and I am now in a place where my stutter does not hold me back one iota. In fact, I find myself drawing on the experience of being a PWS as a resource to help me live to my full potential. I am re-writing my story as a PWS, but this time with a positive ending.
Michael O’Shea is my name, for close on forty years I struggled through life with a severe Stammer/Stutter. Today I am free of the mindset, mentality and physical behavior of Stammering/Stuttering. I am married to Monica, we have two adult sons, Gary and Alan, four grandchildren, Hollie, Abbie, Isabelle and Michael. I am self employed, I work in the construction industry, “Speak Soon Communications” is a company which I started two years ago which empowers people to move forward with their lives in a positive and constructive way.
I am a member of the McGuire Programme in Ireland where I am a Staff Trainer, Course Instructor, and Speech Coach. I am a member and active committee member of the Irish Stammering Association which gives me the opportunity and satisfaction to work with and support people who are challenged by Stammering / Stuttering.
Michael C. Ryan
Michael is 48 yrs old, married to Fran with 2 boys, Shane and Edward and lives in Templemore, Co, Tipperary
He is employed by Centenary D.I.Y. Thurles and an elected Member of Templemore Town Council.
Michael is a Graduate of The McGuire Programme and has been on ISA committee since 2009. Michael has given a range of media interviews on the subject of stammering.
Jonathon Linklater (General Manager)
Jonathon Linklater trained to be a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) at the University of Sheffield, UK, and qualified in 2002. Since then he worked for the HSE with children who have a wide range of communication disorders. Jonathon, who stutters himself, established the HSE Dublin Adult Stuttering course with Duana Quigley and Noreen Murphy in 2005. He has presented at international conferences on this therapy approach for stuttering. Jonathon has been Chair of the Dysfluency Special Interest Group for SLTs. He has been involved with the Irish Stammering Association since 2003 and is currently a General Manager for the charity developing self-help and parent supports as well as groups for young people who stammer. Since completing the European Clinical Specialism in Fluency Disorders, Jonathon is undertaking PhD research at the University of Limerick with guidance from the TCD’s School of Clinical Speech and Language Studies.
I am a person who has stammered for most of my life and I started attending a the ISA support group in Dublin about six years ago which was where I found out about the DAS course. The Support group and DAS course changed my life in how I thought about my stammer. In the support group I had the support of my peers who understood how I felt about my stammer and with DAS it gave me the tools to accept my stammer and to stammer with confidence and control.
I then found myself wanting to get involved with the Irish Stammering Association as I felt I had something to give back to other people who stammered. I became a support group leader and member of the committee of the ISA and then became Chairman for 2012.