Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Talk Yourself into a New Job; New Confidence: Flora Swartland Is Happier at Work since Attending the City Lit Course

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Talk Yourself into a New Job; New Confidence: Flora Swartland Is Happier at Work since Attending the City Lit Course

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON

LOLA Balogun has stammered for as long as she can remember. Until herlate thirties, she had never had any help for her speech difficulties, whichcaused her considerable embarrassment and frustration and was, she felt,affecting her career as an accountant.

When, last January, she enrolled on a three-week intensive course at City Lit,it was a courageous step for her to takebut she hasn't looked back since. "The course, Stammering therapy: anintegrated approach, combined learning a fluency technique with work onbecoming more open about stammering," she explains. "I've have seen aremarkable change since attending this course. I used to be terrified ofspeaking events and felt embarrassed. This course has given me the confidenceto speak up, to just go ahead and do what I have to do." Located in CoventGarden, City Lit provides opportunities for more than 23,000 adults each year,offering 3,000 part-time courses including speech therapy, visual andperforming arts, languages, computing, psychology and counselling, teachertraining, comple- mentary therapies and humanities, as well as specialist areasfor students with disabilities. It is for its internationally recognised workwith adults who stammer that City Lit has been most recently lauded, however,last week winning The Queen's Anniversary Prize, which honours outstandingachievement and excellence in UK universities and colleges.

Stammering, a disorder which is often misunderstood with the impact on thestammerer going unnoticed, is traditionally treated in an NHS environment on aone-to-one basis. Group work in an adult learning environment helps many peopleto respond positively, however, offering them support from their peers, rolemodels and the opportunity to exchange experiences.

The adults who enrol at City Lit are supported through a range of unique andcutting-edge practices as "learners" rather than "patient". Rachel Everard, oneof two members of City Lit's speech therapy team who stammer themselves, wasinspired to retrain as a speech and language therapist after attending speechtherapy courses at City Lit, and qualified in 2001. …

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