Leys Geddes has been at the forefront of a UK campaign to ensure that people understand there is no universal 'cure' for stammering and that very few adults recover. He wants to ensure people who stammer are not given false hopes, and that people who do not stammer are not given a false impression of the condition.
Leys says, "Within the UK we have seen some considerable success but, as the web is international, it has been difficult to stamp it out worldwide. We approached authoritative organisations in other countries, particularly the States, asking for their support. Many have come on board but, disappointingly, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) declined, explaining that, in their view, these claims were a case of 'let the buyer beware'."
The new 2010 ASHA code of ethics includes rules, which are "specific statements of minimally acceptable professional conduct or of prohibitions". One of these states, "Individuals shall not guarantee the results of any treatment or procedure, directly or by implication; however, they may make a reasonable statement of prognosis." ASHA members Peter Reitzes (co-host of StutterTalk) and Dr Phil Schneider believe that speech-language pathology colleagues marketing their services with phrases such as 'Discover how to stop stuttering' and '12 days to fluent speech' are violating this rule. They have therefore started a petition to ask ASHA to enforce it.
Leys comments, "It is both brave and sad that two speech-language pathologists, and ASHA members, must ask for support from the outside world to fight against a refusal by their own professional body to uphold such a straightforward ethical issue. Stammerers need to stand together on these issues, so every signature will be important."