21st October 2017

Hilton Kilmainham, Dublin

10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m

The 11th National Stammering Awareness Day will take place on Saturday October 21st in the Hilton Kilmainham Hotel, Dublin from 10 a.m. This year’s theme is ‘A world that understands stuttering’.


As you may recall, at last year’s NSAD, Michael O’Shea stood down from his involvement in the event that he and Jonathon Linklater had coordinated together since 2007. Michael was keen for Irish Stammering Association to take over the running of NSAD. We acknowledge and thank Michael and Monica O’Shea for their hard work and dedication to 10 years of NSAD.


As well as having our traditional speakers from Irish Stammering Association and Irish McGuire Programme we’ll have a range of speakers to encourage, inspire and get you thinking. Keeping with this year’s global theme, we will have two Skype speakers including Nina G stuttering stand up comedian and activist who joins us from San Francisco. Closer to home, NCAD graduate Conor Foran will exhibit his design work ‘The Curious Paradox’ – nominated for the 2017 British Book Design and Production Awards Shortlist.


ISA Parents’ Support Network will take place at 1.00 p.m. where family members can share experiences and chat informally. ISAYiT! drama group for young people will run from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. In addition, Charlie Hughes from the Gaiety School of Acting will be giving a talk on presentation skills for adults in the afternoon.


Our day will close with a drinks reception that all are welcome to attend. A full timetable can be found here.


Parking and public transport


Hilton Kilmainham Hotel has a preferential all day parking rate of €7. This operates on a first come fist service; you must pay for this parking at reception to avail of the special rate. Alternative parking can be found at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.


Public transport serves Hilton Kilmainham with LUAS stops at Heuston Station and Suir Road, and several Dublin Bus routes. The Transport for Ireland website gives real time information to assist your travel.


Breakout sessions : Irish Stammering Association will be running a Parent Support Network meeting at 1 pm. in the Main Room.


ISAYiT! drama group will be facilitated by Charlie Hughes (Gaiety School of Acting) from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Conor Foran’s work ‘The Curious Paradox’ will be exhibited at the rear of the main room.


Schedule :


10 : Welcome – Dr Jonathon Linklater & David Heney

10:05 : Icebreaker

10:15 : Conor Foran

10:30 : Grant Meredith


11:00 : Tea & coffee break


11:30 : Brian Dempsey (Irish McGuire Programme)

12:00 : Dr Mary O’Dwyer

12:30 : David Heney (Chairman, Irish Stammering Association)


13:00 : Lunch break


14:00 : Shannen McEwen

14:15 : Dr Jonathon Linklater

14:45 : Bevin Murphy and Veronica Lynch

15:00 : Charlie Hughes – Gaiety School of Acting – presentation skills for people who stutter

16:00 : Aidan Greene

16:30 : Jamie Googan

16:45 : Nina G

17:15 : Closing comments – Dr Jonathon Linklater & David Heney

: Wine reception


Speaker biographies :


Conor Foran :


Conor Foran is a recent graduate of the National College of Art & Design, with a degree in Visual Communication and Visual Culture. Being a stammerer all his life, Conor chose to explore his speech impediment through book design and typography for his graduate work. His publication, The Curious Paradox, aims to shed light upon the presence of stammering in our society through a series of interviews. The work uses a customised font which stretches and repeats to mimic the voice of the stammerer. The publication has since reached the finals for the Best Student Book Category in the British Book Design and Production Awards 2017, with the ceremony taking place in London this November.


Grant Meredith :


Grant Meredith lectures in Information Technology and is the Associate Dean of Student Retention and Success for the Faculty of Science and Technology. Grant leads the Technologies for Empowering People for Participation in Society programme which aims to enable the lives of people the world over through the radical design of free software solutions. Grant is an active researcher and presenter within the fields of educational equity, assertive technologies and emerging technologies. He has been named best lecturer of the year for his university 3 times and in 2015 was named the Alumnus of the Year. Grant is actively engaged within the stuttering world advocating stuttering pride and sits as a community representative on Speech Pathology Australia’s Ethics Board. In the stuttering world he is seen as a “triple threat” as he blocks, repeats and also prolongs.


Brian Dempsey :


I’m a car mechanic from Dublin and I’m a graduate of the McGuire Programme. I’ve had a stammer for as long as I have remembered. Growing up with a stammer was extremely frustrating as my whole life was being controlled by it. I could never do what I wanted to do and manipulated people to do as much for me as possible so I could speak as little as possible. I joined the McGuire programme in 2011 and I am a coach and a course instructor on the programme. Since then me as a person I've completely change by accepting myself as a person who stammers and I've made that apart of who I am and just given me the confidence to speak. For I’m in control on how I speak and not letting my stammer control me. I finally have a voice and now able to go about work and life without having the fear of stammering and caring what people think of me if I do stutter on a word.


Dr Mary O’Dwyer :


Mary works as a Speech and Language Therapist with HSE (South). Mary has a particular interest in working with children and adults who stutter and their families. Mary views stuttering as a complex phenomenon involving behavior, thoughts, and feelings, while the importance of each of these varies from person to person. Her current interests include developing the use of mindfulness and narrative therapy in her work with children and adults who stutter. She has undertaken the European Clinical Specialization in Fluency Disorders post graduate qualification and has recently completed her PhD at Trinity College, Dublin.


David Heney :


David Heney has been involved in the Irish Stammering Association since 2006 when he first attended the Dublin Support Group. He has been on the Board of the ISA since 2010, and took over as chair of the ISA from Michael Ryan earlier this year. David has stammered all his life but didn’t undertake any speech therapy as a child. Since discovering the Irish Stammering Community he has undertaken the Dublin Adult Stuttering programme and currently facilitates the ISA Dublin Support Group. He has made many friends in the stammering community and believes that meeting other people who stammer and sharing experiences has been an important aspect to working on his speech. It has also shown him that having a stammer does not need to hold you back, whatever you want to do! He is married to Jennifer and works as a civil servant in Dublin.


Shannen McEwen :


Shannen McEwen is my name, I’m from Letterkenny in Co. Donegal and I am a Primary Coach on the McGuire Programme. I have had a stammer since I was 3 years old and growing up, I was controlled by my stammer and it frustrated me as I could not say what I wanted to say. The fear of stammering in front of people had always held me back from various speaking situations and in June 2016, I finally had enough of it and I joined the McGuire Programme. The McGuire programme has given me so much confidence in myself. A year ago I couldn’t say my own name or where I was from without stammering and now I can actually say what I want and not hold back. It’s finally given me a voice, a voice that I’ve kept quiet for 23 years because I was too scared to speak. I now control my stammer, rather than letting it control me.


Dr Jonathon Linklater :


Dr Jonathon Linklater, a speech and language therapist, stutters himself. Specializing in fluency disorders, he established an intensive therapy program called the Dublin Adult Stuttering (DAS) course in 2005. Jonathon co-founded the private practice in Dublin in 2011. He has been involved with the Irish Stammering Association since 2003 and is currently the Development Manager for the charity. Since completing the European Clinical Specialism in Fluency Disorders in 2009, Jonathon has completed his PhD at the University of Limerick, with guidance from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Clinical Speech and Language Studies. He is past chair of the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists; the professional body for Speech and Language Therapists. He likes to make the occasional film.


Bevin Murphy :


Hello, my name is Bevin and I’m 19 years old. I am currently a student at IADT and I’m studying English, Media and Cultural Studies. I have been a member of the ISA for as long as I can remember and I fully support everything that they do. I am also a member of the ISAYiT! group that is within the ISA and I love it! My presentation today is about my transition from Secondary School to College and how my stammer has impacted on this change. Through my experience of having a stammer I want to help people find their voice. That is something I truly believe in too! I believe we all have a voice that is worth sharing.


Veronica Lynch :


Veronica is a person who stammers and a parent of a young adult who stammers. She has been an active member of Irish Stammering Association for over 9 years and served on the Board as Treasurer and Chairman. Veronica has a special interest in young people who stammer and their parents and is involved in supporting both through ISA’s projects such as ISAYiT! And Parent Support Network. Although Veronica has stammered for as long as she can remember, her stammer and her attitude to it has changed considerably. Doing speech therapy for the first time 12 years ago and becoming involved with ISA have both played a major part in those changes. Her presentation today will offer some ideas on supporting young people who stammer in education.


Aidan Greene :


Aidan Greene is a multi award-winning Comedian from Cavan. He’s a regular across all of Ireland’s top comedy clubs and festivals and is just back from an acclaimed sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his show (500) Days of Stammer. As featured on the Moth Podcast.


Nina G :


Nina G is the San Francisco Bay Area’s favorite female stuttering stand up comedian (granted she is the only one). She is a comedian, disability activist, storyteller, children’s book author and educator. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand social justice issues such as disability, diversity, and equity. Nina shares her wit and wisdom with corporations, colleges, community/Disability awareness events and media interviews.


Coming soon and worth waiting for…


Jamie Googan

Charlie Hughes