Outside the Speech & Language Therapist’s room Katy sat twisting her handkerchief around and around her thumb. This seemed worse than waiting to take her Key stage 3 SATS exams. Her mother glanced at her with hooded brows that said ‘Stop that!’ though no words were spoken. Her mother hated making a scene in public. In just a few moments Katy knew she would have to talk to the stranger they had come to see and she always had to attend these sessions with her mother, which somehow made it ten times worse and better at the same time.
The door to the clinic room abruptly opened and she was bathed in a shaft of warm light that seemed to spread a calming glow over her frazzled nerves.
“Would you like to come in now” Rebecca Lees smiled at them.
Katy and her mother sat side by side on the padded chairs provided.
“So how can I help you?” Rebecca Lees smiled.
“We’ve seen lots of speech therapists” Katy’s mother began “And she seems to be getting worse rather than better”
“I see. Would you agree with that Katy?”
Katy could feel her eyes widen in horror and her mouth felt like a dried prune. She nodded, lowering her eyes.
“We agreed to see you, because we were told you are a specialist in stammering” Katy’s mother filled the silence. “She doesn’t stammer with us at home, only with strangers…”
“Yes that’s quite common. Some stammers will stammer in one language and not in another, some only on the telephone.”
Katy’s mother pursed her lips “So what can you do about her?”
“Well if you wouldn’t mind stepping outside then I could assess Katy and take it from there” Rebecca Lees smiled again. “Would that be okay with you Katy?”
“C-c-c-can I?” Katy replied in a gush of enthusiasm, while cringing at the way her words sounded as if she was hurling them up like a bad meal, those same words that others found so easy to utter. Yet this therapist seemed different from all the other she had met over the years.
“There’s lots we can do to help you Katy, if you are interested in having the therapy?”
“I wu-woo-would like that” Katy gushed, the glow of hope like a freshly lit pilot light burning inside her. “Yes, p-pl-please ”