These guidelines are NOT mandatory. These are only Good practices, offered as advise. PWS who are organizing Communication Workshop or such events may adopt or adapt these ideas, based on their requirements and local realities.
1. Number of participants should not be more than 25 (ideally 20). Girls, young and new participant should have preference over old tisa regulars AFAP. In larger groups, new comers and shy people may not get much chance to speak or individual feedback from the facilitator.
2. Facilitators should be a team of two (or three) experienced, well informed pws, who have spent some time on the path of self-help. Focus should be on Learning by doing: Group activities where people learn about themselves and their stammering. Like Role plays, videography, stranger talk, Stammering Interviews etc. rather than “Expert” LECTURES!
3. The facilitators should develop an agenda in advance and think through minutely EVERY activity- and should get it vetted by other experienced facilitators in or outside TISA.
4. The screened and selected participants should be put in an whatsapp or email group at least 6 weeks in advance for getting to know each other and cover as much ground as possible, BEFORE they meet. Many new-comers may need to read some basic documents on Acceptance and other ideas promoted by TISA.
5. For advance preparation- the participants should be asked to put up a text bio and a self-video on TISA blog/ site PLUS therapy history or whatever they have done in the past, to help themselves. (TISA can not help them unless they are willing to open up and go public); a conference call / Skype / Hangout with all the participants 1-2 weeks before Workshop can also be a very useful step. Facilitators get to actually HEAR the participants and accordingly prepare- and decide, who needs more attention/ help.
6. Workshop can be either 1 or 2 or 3 day long- depending on facilitators, venue and other factors. Even in 1 day workshop, outdoor activity should take precedence over indoor discussion. Intellectual discussions never end. What benefits us is confronting our FEARS in real life situations- with help of a group.
7. Social activities - dancing, singing, reciting poems, role plays, mini speeches should be accommodated since pws often have under-developed social skills.
8. A T-shirt with a bold statement about acceptance of stammering should be worn on all the days of the workshop wherever possible. Communication WS is not just about promoting good communication skills - but it is also about EMPOWERING pws.. Putting such a T shirt and going out in public can be a big step in that direction.
9. If all participants can stay close together- to promote feeling of belonging to a community - it will be helpful. But it is OK if some local participants join during the day only.
10. Last activity, should be personal goal planning, which can and should be followed up, by the group, through whatsapp or other means.
11. Atmosphere should be focused but never boring. Serious and joyful. Also, we should maintain atmosphere fair to everyone- women, young, ethnic / linguistic minority etc. Let there be respect for everyone.
12. These workshops should always be self-sustained. Registration fee should take care of almost all the direct expenses. It should not become a financial burden on any one person. Financial details should be shared on the blog/website/ or with National Coordinator.
13. On some evening, on the side lines, try and accommodate an open session for those PWS/ parents of PWS or just curious people, who come to know about TISA through media coverage and promotions and who have not registered in advance. This can be kept on the final day (only if workshop duration is more than 1 day). If some journalist want to participate in this open session, they too should be welcomed.
14. The facilitators should also engage in follow-up, through emails or whatsapp, answering questions and offering hand-holding post workshop.
15. A brief report, with couple of pictures, on the blog is a good idea – for future reference. The report should describe briefly the activities and also have a crisp analysis OR important lessons learned and training resources used in the workshop.
(Harish and Sachin)