June 17, 2014

ADVISE FOR YOUNG PWS.....HOW TO CHOOSE A SPEECH THRAPY

Dear all, 

This is the very lengthy message that I had ever written for both TISA blog & whatsapp groups. 

At the outset, I wish to inform that this message is not for seniors & also those members who have chosen their path for their stammering and traveling comfortably. 

This posting is especially for young pws & new comers to whatsapp group members. Because they were in a dilemma which they have to choose and travel comfortably with stammering. One pws asking, even after he accepted his stammering, fluency eluded him and could not get better placement. Another pws telling, after he accepted his stammering, he lost interest in any kind of speech practice but still stammering. 


A third pws asking that everyone was telling that speech therapy would not give 100% cure. So the younger pws were confused so much that which path they have to choose. 

Acceptance of stammering is required to get rid of pws fear & shame. Then only, his mind would be free and can do any speech practice with 100% dedication. Even after completion of practicing period & started speaking fluently, due to some neurological problem, he may stammer after few years. Since he had accepted his stammering, he didn't get depressed. To my opinion, simply accepting stammering without doing anything, a pws speech may not be improved much. 

Coming to speech therapy, a false impression was created in India that it was not possible to overcome stammering by speech therapy. To my opinion, SLPs in India were teaching slow reading with prolongation technique as speech therapy. Also whenever some pws were talking about curing of stammering by speech therapy, one section of pws always telling that it was not possible to cure stammering 100% and always putting negative thoughts on other pws minds. 

My question is, what was wrong if a pws achieved 98-99% fluency. Was it not better than 80 or 90% fluency. 
WHICH IS THE BEST SPEECH THERAPY :

This is the question every pws was asking. Yesterday I received the above question from a few pws on the following lines 

1. I am practicing prolongation & slow speaking.

2. I am practicing slow reading with head movements for one hour

3. I am practicing prolongation & bouncing techniques. 

4. I am practicing your speech therapy. 

5. Whether one year is sufficient to overcome stammering? 

6. I heard that there is no cure for stammering, but now you are telling that it can be cured 99%, hence I got confused. 

7. At AIIMS, DELHI  the speech therapist taught me only slow reading with prolongation technique with head movement.  I was doing it for a few months, found improvement in the speech. But I got confused after reading your posts. 

In this connection, I wish to inform that it's my duty to clear everyone's doubts. 

Like everyone, I was also having of questions & confusions on which was the best speech therapy. 

Before attending Mr. Bala's course, I had also attended two speech therapy at Chennai . Both were slow speaking with prolongation technique . After attending one of the speech therapy, they informed me that I became a normal speaker, because I have spoken very well  in the comfort zone. When I came out of the center, I could not order "Tea"  in a nearby tea shop. I blocked severely on the word "Tea". That time I thought it was waste of time & money only and no cure for stammering. 

Then, I have attended Mr. Bala's speech therapy in the year 2001, a 5 days in house course. After the course, he advised everyone to practice the speech therapy for one year. I also sincerely practiced for 6 months, started speaking really well. I had given a 10 lecture at my office training centre with head movements and without any blocks. Everyone appreciated my speech that time. There only, I got some hope that there was a way out to overcome stammering. 

But due to sudden illness, I could not practice for the next 15 days, which resulted stammering badly again. Afterwards, somehow I lost interest and discontinued practicing speech therapy . 

TISA was formed in the year 2008. I started Chennai chapter on Jan"2009 with much fanfare. About 100 pws were attended along with 2 English, one Tamil dailies & one Tamil TV  channel. 

I was very much elated by these events. I also liked TISA  acceptance concept. Hence, I started conducting weekly SHG  meetings from 2009 onwards with more importance on acceptance concept. 

But steadily, the attendance of the subsequent meetings started decreasing. As there was no fixed TISA centre those days , we have to pay around Rs.1000 per meeting at YWCA guest house. 

Because of the high cost and less attendance, I changed the weekly meetings into monthly meetings. Even then, only 6 to 8 members were used to attend the meeting. 

Because of more office work pressure, I was not able to find out the ways & means to improve the strength of SHG meetings.

Then, I decided to go on voluntary retirement due to my health condition & applied for it also. It was due on Sept '2013 and the Delhi NC scheduled to be held on 3-5 Oct' 2013. I have already decided to attend the NC as I attended the previous two NCs. 

I relieved from Government service in the Sept month end and I had attended Delhi NC. At the Delhi NC,  I met Mr. Tarak from Bangalore and told about my future plan of starting a permanent TISA  centre at Chennai in s flat owned by me at Kotturpurm to serve pws. 

Mr. Tarak welcomed my idea, but suggested to improve upon my speech first, as I stammered more at that time.

The reason he told me was, since you were going to be  the in-charge of the centre, you should speak well first, though need not 100% fluently, but fairly well. Then only, the pws coming to your centre would have faith on you continue to come to the center . 

Then, I told to Mr. Tarak about Mr. Bala's speech therapy that I took and reasons for discontinued it. He encouraged me to start practicing it again. 

Meanwhile, the Chennai centre was inaugurated on 9th of December '2013. Subsequently, 1st TISA  whatsapp group was started on 1st of January' 2014. 

From 1st Jan onwards, I also started practicing speech therapy. 

Two whatsapp groups were formed in January. Subsequently one each in February, March &April were formed . I have also uploaded my practicing videos to all the groups. 

Upto March end (1st 3 months), I practiced  speech therapy for one  hour in the mornings. Then, I myself revived my speech at the end of March, which was not satisfactory to me.

Then, I started doing some research on stammering as lot of time is available now at my disposal after my retirement. 

Slowly, I started understanding about PHYSICAL changes that taken place in a pws speaking system due to some minor neurological problem by birth & continued stammering by him over many years. 

(i) pws was shallow breather & hence not using his full lungs capacity. Also he was not giving enough pausing. More & more he become shallow breathers, he blocks more & more compared to nomal pws. 
(ii) pws was not fully utilizing his speech mechanism  for fear of stammering. 
(iii) pws was always speaking fast. 
(iv) pws seldom uses his body language including the important head movements. 
(v) All the physical activities of a pws was always faster than a normal person's activities. 

So, a pws to speak well,  has to practice speech therapy which take care of all the above five problems. 

The speech therapy (invented by Mr. Andrew Bell of Scotland) which I learned from Mr. Bala addresses all the above five problems. The sequence of this speech therapy actions &it's benefits were described below. 

1st bend down & take a deep breath (breathing exercise) , then move the head up & down for the pronouncing 1st two syllables with maximum  mouth opening (exercise to speech mechanism) and moving the hesd left & right ways for the rest of the syllables (head movements).

Since only one syllable has to be pronounced for one head movement, he has to wait for sometime to pronounce the next syllable (speech speed has been controlled by this way). Since all the activities in the above speech therapy were slow in nature, after practicing this speech therapy about one hour, a pws all physical activities would also slowed down (slowing down of physical activities) 

So, all the five problems were very well taken care of by this speech therapy . As I already stated, even after 3 months of my speech therapy, my speech improvement was not satisfactory to me. 1st, I thought of this was due to my age factor. But immediately, I dismissed this idea as I did not wanted to excuse myself on age factor. 

Then something struck on my mind. Leaving 8 hrs sleeping, & one hr practicing period, in the balance 15 hrs, I was not doing any acto to overcome stammering. 

Weekly 5 days, I used to go to Chennai centre. The time taken for one way journey is one hour (15 min bus + 30 min train + 15 min walk). For both up & down journey, the total time taken is 2 hours. I decided to make use of these 2 hour for practicing silent speech therapy. I started practicing silent speech therapy from April onwards. I have already posted about silent speech therapy to all the groups one month before. 

I also started extensively used head movements throughout the day while both speaking & listening. 

Then at Chennai centre, I started practicing slow writing also for 30 minutes whenever I got free time. 

I have started all the above three activities simultaneously from the 1st week of April onwards. 

From the 3rd week of April, I started speaking really well and improving day by day. 

From the 1st week of May onwards , I started speaking 98% fluently. The best part was I could able to tell by name very calmly, clearly & authoritatively wherever it was asked. I could take bus ticket also without stammering. Now ordering food at restaurants was a pleasure for me. I used to chat extensively with the bearer about speciality of food in the hotel, about today's special etc. Hitherto, my wife used to give orders for me. For any pws, the above three activities were really an acid tests . I hope I succeeded well in all the above tests . 

In a nutshell, 
(i) one hr speech therapy in the mornings. 
(ii) 1 to 2 hours of silent speech therapy. 
(iii) Maximum use of head movements throughout the day while both speaking & listening. 
(iv) 30 minutes slow writing if possible. 
(v) Slowing down physical activities such as walking, eating, drinking, reading etc. 

Though the above list seems to be lengthy, you have to spare one hour only in the mornings for speech therapy. For practicing other activities, you can do it on a piecemeal basis, whenever you gw free time.

Though you have to practice above activities for a minimum period of one year, you can start observing your speech improvements after 2 to 3 months of practicing.

After enjoying the speech improvement, nothing could stop you from practicing till you attains fluent speech. 

Five months were passed since the commencement of whatsapp groups. We were in the middle of the 6th month (June '14). 

So far 4 members at Chennai showed lot of improvements. Another 4 members from North India spoken to me very well informing that they had improved a lot after practicing speech therapy. (but honestly, I don't know their level of stammering prior to speech practicing.) 

I have already planned at the formation of whatsapp groups to convene an all India whatsapp groups meeting at Chennai after completion of one year. 

I have planned to convene a meeting at Chennai in the last week of January' 2015 if everything goes well and of course if God willing also. 

My plan was to make ready about 25 members to speak fluently in the meeting in front of media explaining how these members learned speech therapy through whatsapp groups without spending anything and speaking fluently. 

Hence, I request all the members especially the younger generation to do speech therapy for one year, overcome their stammering and enjoy the life fully. I wasted 57 years of life by choosing so many paths but came back to the starting place only. After 57 years only, I had chosen a right path to overcome stammering. 

Some of the members sending messages like (1) I completed 30 minutes of slow reading practice (2) I have completed 30 minutes meditation etc. For those members, I wish to inform that they may have marginal improvement in their speech, but to overcome stammering speech therapy is a must.

Here I also wish to inform one more thing.  I was not telling that Mr. Andrew Bell's speech therapy is the best one. You can choose any speech therapy, but it should should addresses all the five issues that I stated earlier. 

Finally, I thank you all by sparing considerable amount of time by reading this very lengthy message. 

I will be very happy if all the members understand this message & starts practicing some kind of speech therapy, successfully overcome their stammering and started enjoying life fully. . 

I hope, I have done my part to the best of my knowledge. It's up to the members to take further necessary action. 

Any suggestions, comments & clarifications are always welcome. 

3 comments:

Ashish Agarwal said...

Very well explained and assertive article.

These days, I'm practicing "Facing all the Fears head on" to conquer my stuttering mindset.I still wonder why the same word which I can narrate 100 times alone without stammering give troubles while speaking in front of strangers.

Narasimha B said...

Hi THis is Narasimha.....my mail id is narasimha.chirulove@gmail.com
I have stammering...Please give me few suggestions to overcome it.
I wish to join in this. How can i join?

Dhruv Gupta said...

Hi Narasimha B,

Where are you located? You can attend an SHG in your area.

Warmly,

Dhruv