About Us

What we do

We help children, young people and adults who stammer from all over the world. Our small but unique service provides an assessment and therapy programme based on understanding each individual who stammers and delivering a comprehensive approach to help them to become confident and successful communicators.
 
We involve parents, therapists and teachers in our therapy programmes as we recognise that it is essential to have a strong support mechanism around the individual who stammers.
 
We also run a comprehensive international training programme for speech and language therapists, providing specialist courses, with cutting-edge techniques, to help provide a better understanding of stammering and how to treat it. We also have a small research department to investigate the nature of stammering and the effectiveness of therapy, enabling us to contribute to the global academic discussion on the subject.

Our team

We are a team of highly trained and experienced specialist speech and language therapists working in the field of stammering, supported by a strong and dynamic administrative team. We are passionate in our drive to help all those who attend the Centre to understand more about their condition, thus enabling them to work together with us to improve their communication skills and help them to achieve their goals in life.
 
The team has a proven track record of success in helping those individuals it has had referred to them, working with children, young people and adults both in the UK and internationally.
 
Central to our collaborative approach is the view that children, young people and parents are experts and resourceful. Our role is to build on the insights and strengths they bring to therapy. We want to empower them and build their understanding and confidence. We want them to become resilient to manage any challenges that they may face. We will provide ongoing support as required and ultimately we feel we have succeeded when they decide they no longer need us.

History of the Michael Palin Centre

The Michael Palin Centre was officially opened in 1993 as a joint initiative between the then Association for Research into Stammering in Childhood (now Action for Stammering Children) and the then Camden & Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust. The official opening, which received wide press coverage, fulfilled Lena Rustin's longstanding ambition to establish a centre of excellence in the UK for the treatment of children who stammer.
 
Lena Rustin's experience in the field of stammering had been recognised both in the UK and internationally. She was supported in this venture by Travers Reid, a prominent businessman and founding Chairman of the charity, whose experiences of childhood stammering had convinced him of the need for such a centre.
 
Michael Palin agreed to the centre being named after him following his role in "A Fish Called Wanda", in which he portrayed a character called Ken who stammered. He based the role on his own father who stammered all his life. Michael's continued support and involvement has helped create a high profile for the Centre and we are very fortunate to have his support.
 
The Centre offers specialist services to children, young people and adults who stammer from all over the UK and internationally and currently employs 13 full- and part-time Specialist Speech and Language Therapists who are supported by an administrative team. The Centre also runs a comprehensive international training programme for speech and language therapists and has a small research department.
 
The Michael Palin Centre is run by NHS Whittington Health, supported by the charity Action for Stammering Children.

A message from Michael Palin

Anyone who knows what it is to stammer either personally or, as in my case, through a loved one's experience, will know the effect it can have on a life. To know what you want to say and be unable to say it is almost intolerably frustrating. All the patience in the world cannot prevent it affecting the self-confidence and self-esteem.

Much of the problem stems from public ignorance of stammering and I hope that the raised profile of the Centre will help to change this. But the most important work is to try to support those who stammer and that is what the Michael Palin Centre is all about. I'm enormously proud of the painstaking, unsensational way in which our therapists, the children and their families go about confronting and dealing with the problem together, as a team. This shared approach has, I'm sure, been the reason the Centre has been so successful. But the price of success is popularity and we know full well that we just don't have the resources to help all the children, young people and adults who need us.

What we can do, with your support, is to increase those resources whilst continuing to show the world that something can be done for those who stammer. To show that there is hope, that there is another way, that the lifetime of frustration and anxiety which someone like my own father suffered, can, if we all work together, be a thing of the past.

Michael Palin
Working on it!