This is the preface to a self help book, I have been writing for sometime. Sneak peak! You be the JUDGE! Seven chapters. Seven core themes. And lot of self paced activities. Feel free to leave you comments- positive and negative. And your suggestions too! I will be looking forward to it and respond to each comment..
Over Your stuttering in...days
represent your commitment and hard work and certain other facts!
we begin let us make sure of basic facts:
1. Do you
stammer? You can be sure of this if you can speak normally under some
conditions (like when alone, talking to younger children etc.) or
when you can sing well but have lot of difficulties in talking, in
some situations particularly - in class, in market, during interviews
Secondly and more importantly- do you really want to overcome your
stammering? Here, answer may not be simple and straightforward. Many
of us feel pain on a daily basis due to stammering- but it goes away
as quickly as it comes. Kam
chalta rehta hai (life goes on)..
and therefore we dont feel committed to long hard work needed to deal
you suffered enough and reached a point of no return? Have you
discovered the uselessness of all the coping mechanisms or tricks you
have discovered so far?
But why do
things have to be so desperate, before they can change? But an
enduring change is not easy to achieve for many of us. You can
understand this if you understand the nature and origin of
stammering. Here is a brief description.
Origin & nature of
current scientific beliefs are: there is a neurobiological glitch in
our brain, in the area dealing with speech, especially articulation-
joining of two syllables (sounds). This glitch in many cases is
transmitted by certain genes in some families. In others, there could
be other reasons- not yet fully understood. When children learn to
speak, every child passes through a phase of normal disfluency which
lasts for a few months. But the children with a glitch in the speech
nerves of brain may continue to have these difficulties for a longer
period, may be years.
explanation is: some children inherit greater sensitivity, react
strongly to negative comments from parents and others, in response to
their normal disfluency and therefore learn to struggle when they
speak. In other words, belief that certain
words or situations are difficult and I must use force or struggle -
is a learned reaction to normal events in growing up years.
another explanation is: some children inherit “fast talking”
genes, stumble over words and develop a life long pattern of reacting
to “perceived” stress. But since 80% of children recover and
become normal speakers- some inherent difference in our brains has to
be there, which can not be just explained away as a bad habit or
purely psychological phenomena like poor self-esteem or a 'complex'
arising out of early childhood trauma. In certain families, even
though children may have similar upbringing, still the eldest or the
youngest child may develop stammering while other siblings may grow
up to be “normal” speakers. Check internet for various theories
and discoveries ( link ).
we have developed this mindset (“I will have problem saying this
or that in that particular situation”) and have developed a
physiological reaction (of using excessive force, blinking,
struggling, holding breath etc.), it becomes a regular unconscious
pattern. It starts shaping our perception of the world, of our-self
as social beings. We start to develop small tricks to cope with the
problem on daily basis: we may pray to God to rid us of this problem;
we may try to become very moral thinking that stammering is a
punishment for “every time I speak a lie or do something mean”.
We may start thinking that stammering is a “punishment” from God
and we are some kind of “sinner”, who does not deserve anything
good in life.
aspect of this development is learning to avoid, words, situations,
people, task, roles, relationships etc. Over the years, we develop an
elaborate system of avoidance. The ultimate avoidance is avoidance of
THOUGHT of stammering itself. We start denying it. We stop the
thought of stammering from entering our conscious mind. We start
living in total denial: Stammer?
who? me? what rubbish!
I dont stammer. I just hesitate sometime..etc.
is any talk about stammering in class or office, we freeze. Since the
whole issue is painful and repulsive, we dont phone the therapists or
the self help group, about whom we may have been reading again and
again for months or years. In other words, we lock ourselves in a
prison and fight off any one who may try to help us out.
suffer on daily basis but soon learn to accept it, as fate or
whatever and carry on with life as best as we can. Since stammering
is not a CONSISTENT disability and since it does not kill us, it is
quite possible for us to deny it, forget it, postpone it. Since
society too does not understand the issue well, it often ignores the
whole thing politely and asks no questions. Since most children get
spontaneously “cured” of stammering, world assumes that everyone
should get over their stammering by the time they are adults. A
stammerer is assumed to have failed to master a very basic skill-
communication, through carelessness or a habitual hurry. He is often
give this advice: Calm down; Take it easy; You think faster than
your tongue can cope- slow down. No one takes into consideration
the fact that for many of us stammering DOES have a biological basis.
scenario is worsened by those therapists who think that unless they
advertise “CURE”, stammerer will not come to them. This is not
true. Then also, some “ex-stammerer” find it convenient to claim
a “cure” rather than share the fact that they have learned to
manage their problem. They feel that they can be a role model for
other stammerers, ONLY if they stop stammering in public, and claim a
“cure”. The fact that “normal” speech DOES have a certain
amount of dis-fluencies is conveniently ignored by both parties. This
is how, following the law of demand and supply, commercialization of
stammering begins and continues. The overall effect is- stammerers
find it difficult to say that they stammer, that it hurts. They are
made to look like losers and delinquents. Some stammerers, as a
reaction, go to the other extreme and claim: stammerers are very
talented and intelligent people! Holding on to such comforting
beliefs, they spend their life in a deeper denial.
breaks such a sleep? Yes, fortunately there are Job Interviews and
Group discussions! They act as demolition charges under our Tazmahal
of denial and complacence! We mostly wake up when we finish college
and start tackling the campus interviews. Then, we confront the
reality, as it is. Then, we start looking for solutions rather than
tricks. But many of us manage to go back to sleep again! Such is the
nature of stammering, alas! This is why we left those dots in the title :-)
manual will take up principles of self help in seven main chapters.
Every chapter will close with some suggested activities. First finish
those activities, then get back for next lesson, instead of reading
the whole book like a novel.