February 21, 2014



This is first of the three articles that I told to this group members. For easy understanding I have given it in a Q&A format. The answer is based on my knowledge gained in my life, from my perception and also as the Coordinator of the TISA, Chennai chapter for the past 5 years. Most of the answers are in general nature only. Please note that whenever I used the word GENERAL, it means that it was applicable to about 80% PWS. 20% PWS are always exceptional and may not match with my experience and perception. I have also given reasoning for my answers logically. But this not 100% correct and I may be wrong also.

 1      What Causes the Stammering?
No single cause has yet been found out. It is believed that it is a Neuro-biological problem, which is causing synchronization problem between thought process and speech mechanism. Sometimes, I stammer while speaking with my wife and with my close relatives and friends also even at good mood. This shows that there is some neurological problem in my body.

2      What is the percentage of Stammerers?
It has been believed that 1% of world population is stammerers. My feeling is that this figure has been exaggerated. For supporting my argument, the following are my reasoning.
a)    Except my father, no another PWS in my entire family (both from my Father & Mother’s side).
b)    I studied in five schools due to my father’s job nature and I came across only one PWS.
c)    During 5 years of Engineering course, I had not met even a single PWS.
d)    During my 33 years of Government services, there were only 3 PWS out of a total work force of around 5000 in my department.
e)    No PWS at my friends circle.
f)      No PWS from my wife side.
I feel it should be in the range of 0.25 to 0.50% only.

3      What is the ratio between male and female PWS?
It has been believed that the ratio is 4:1. I feel this ratio figure is also an exaggerated one. So far, I met 6 WPWS in person and 6 more through mails. Totally, 12 WPWS. Whereas, I met more than 200 male PWS at various forums. To my opinion, the ratio should be in the order of about 10:1 only.

4      Is stammering heredity?
Yes. About 50% of PWS fathers or their close relatives (mostly from father’s side) are PWS. This I practically found out at Chennai chapter.

5      Is stammering a bad habit?
No. It is not a bad habit. Bad habit means learning stammering from others. But I heard many PWS who came for their first meeting saying that they were seeing for the first time another PWS in their life. Then how could stammering be a bad habit?

6      Is stammering curable?
This is a very important question that every PWS must find out the answer for themselves. The general answer is medically it is not curable because its cause is not yet been found out. To me “Cure” is a relative term for PWS and others.
If a PWS speaks fluently but still having some inner fear means he has cured 99% of his stammering. But for the listeners, his cure is 100%.
Similarly, if another PWS having stammering outwardly but no inner fear means, it doesn’t mean that he has cured 100% inwardly, but he is living with peace himself. But for his stammering speech, he has to face the consequences in his life.
In my life, I know 5 ex-stammerers(ES) including one IAS officer. I had spokenwith all the 5 ES and asked the same question of “Are you completely cured from your stammering”. All the 5 ES said ‘NO’. Though all the 5 ES were speaking very fluently, they were accepting that the ‘inner fear’ coming sometimes and they were also using word substitution at some occassions.
But generally it has been proveed that all PWS can control their stammering upto 95-99% with acceptance and practicing a suitable technique for a minimum period of one year.

7      Is “ACCEPTANCE” of stammering alone is sufficient for a PWS to lead a better life?
There is no doubt that “ACCEPTACE” is a must for all PWS to get rid of their shame, fear and emotional feelings towards stammering. It may be helpful for a mild and very moderate PWS to speak reasonably well. But for moderate and severe PWS, some techniques are required to control their stammering.

8      Is it practically possible for PWS to use some techniques during stammering in a real speaking situations?.
I also read some techniques like in-block and post-block corrections, cancellation, bouncing, prolongation etc. It is generally very difficult to implement it in the real speaking situations, as all the PWS are always want to complete the sentence at the earliest and come out of the situation.
I think bouncing technique can be used for the feared words and prolongation technique at the starting of a conversation.

9    Can a PWS overcome his stammering if his secondary symptoms are eliminated?
Not possible. Because the root cause of any secondary symptom is due to stammering only and not visa verse. If stammering vanished or controlled, accordingly the secondary symptom will also automatically vanished or reduced.

10   Is it a problem for a pws to get marry and lead a good life after marriage?
This question cannot be easily answered. It depends upon so many factors like acceptance of the stammering by the bride, her economic conditions, family relationship, love etc.
But in cities, women are educated and most of them are working and earning good salary also. Social gathering becomes part of their life. They used to attend weekend parties. After marriage, they won’t stop the habit of going weekend parties and that time if her husband happened to be a PWS, it will be really a very complicated situation for both of them.
My brother an Advocate, used to tell me that he was getting more divorce cases for the past 3 years for flimsy reasons that too within a few months of their marriage. My advice to the young PWS is, instead of cursing God and leading a miserable marriage life, they should take this opportunity, practice sincerely for one year, conquer their stammering and happily live forever.
11.   In a simple terms, what a PWS has to do to conquer his stammering and lead a normal life like others?
·         It is sufficient for a PWS to read the above 10 points to understand about stammering. Beyond that, it is learning of unnecessary knowledge only which leads to more confusion towards understanding of stammering. It is just like “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. 
·         In plain words, a PWS should not use his intelligence in asking many doubts about stammering. From my experience, those PWS, who were asking less doubts are really progressing well.
·         Do practice a technique consistently for a period of one year.
·         If possible, use prolongation and bouncing techniques during the practicing period to avoid any embracing situations.
·         And last but not the least, accept your stammering lifelong. Because even after one year of practice, the stammer may come occasionally.
I hope I had covered almost all the points about stammering.. If you got any doubts, you are always welcome to ask.
In the next article, I will write about what are all the techniques that can be used to conquer stammering. In the concluding article, I will write about how to consistently practice the technique for one year maintaining the same tempo.

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