My very dear TISA friends,
Many journeys are planned in advance. Some journeys do not start, because there are no people willing or able to take that very necessary first step. Until 2006 there was no effective central place in India for people who stammer to get together to talk about issues in every day life relating to stammering and ask for help. Some of you took part in the yahoo group IndianPWS. But many Indians emailed the International Stuttering Association (ISA) and other National Associations (BSA, NSA etc.) asking for help. In 2006, the vision of The Indian Stammering Association (TISA) was formed. In five and a half short years you have moved from the yahoo group, IndianPWS (still going strong), to holding a National Indian Conference linked with the IHS. Outstanding.
I am currently in America helping my daughter and American husband to look after my almost 3 year old granddaughter and 1 month old granddaughter. While I hold the baby in my arms I have time to reflect on the growth of her older sister in the last 3 years. This leads me think of similar growth patterns of TISA and the majority of people who stammer. People who stammer hope and expect others to help us. We take time to learn and accept that we are in charge of and responsible for our own destinies. We are the only ones who have our poor experiences because of our personal level of communication skills and we are the only ones able to do anything to improve these skills. We also need to learn that the reason for some things going wrong in our lives is not always our stammer.
For people who stammer, the stages of growth start with knowing we have poor communication skills; wanting to improve our communication skills; seeking knowledge to help ourselves; then using the knowledge (practice, practice, practice....) to improve our communication day by day and having fun in the process.
For TISA, the stages of growth started with understanding that Indian stammerers needed to step up to the challenge and build a support center for Indians in India, TISA (the first Indian website began the process); then taking the next crucial step of introducing the idea of people who stammer meeting together and starting Self Help Groups (Sachin, a new coordinator; a new website; a new blog; and self help groups starting in different cities); increasingly provide more knowledge and start to provide effective affordable treatment courses which include lots of fun things to do; stimulate SHGs to meet face to face; stimulate SHGs to help to provide a National Conference or two or three; stimulate SHGs to help to provide a Asian Regional Conference or two or three (future); stimulate SHGs to help to provide a World Conference(future).
You have now arranged your first National Conference. This is brilliant. I hope everyone enjoys meeting other people and talking (not typing an email or blog entry). Meeting face to face and talking is such a rewarding experience. The volume of sound produced by stammerers who meet and talk is amazing. A first conference is something people remember the rest of their lives. At the conference therapies and experiences will be shared and many new friends will be made. There are always new things to learn and knowledge is the best way to find out which of the many techniques will help each of us on our own personal journey to better communication. One of the most basic techniques is to ignore the words (only 7% of communication), and to concentrate on all the other aspects of communication (93%). However each attendee of the conference needs to listen, watch, learn and then decide whether to use any of the new things talked about.
I have met some of the people who will be at the conference. You will have a long journey to Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Think of the journey as part of your holiday at the IHS center. I wish you all an adventurous and happy Indian Conference. I am with you in spirit and will be thinking of you all. Laugh, smile, have fun and enjoy yourselves.
May the sun shine in all your hearts,
Keith (from the UK)