Let’s go home, then. If you stammer, like us, your life must have been a SEARCH. An unending journey, looking for something, someone, which will make you whole. Some treatment, some course, some belief. But who can give us that feeling, that vision, that we are OK – not a defective piece on a conveyor belt? Like Kasturi Deer, we have to return to source one day, trailing the scent, emanating from our own soul. This part of journey can be called HOME coming. We welcome you home!
(From Prakhar Sachan, 2006)
What if I wasn’t a stutterer?
This question, and other like questions, time and time again seem to surface to the fore of a stutterers’ mind. I have been no exception.
I started stuttering as a child. With no family history of stuttering, it was hard for everyone to relate to my stuttering. Stating the obvious, a search for “cure” proved to be futile. Somehow stuttering wasn’t an issue in my early school days. I used to stutter mildly and contextually (as far as I can remember), and stuttering still hadn’t seeped into my psyche. As such, the typical stuttering mindset and the emotional baggage that goes along with it were non-existent. But, it all seemed to change when I was in middle school. I was made to feel different, because I didn’t speak in the normal way. As an instance, my peers found it intriguing and sometimes amusing, why I took so long to say my name. I could very well have been labeled retarded, but as I did well academically, they were always confused and questions such as “why do you speak that way?” became common place. By the time I was in high school, my stuttering became severe. Really bad. I couldn’t even answer the roll calls (my name included), forget about participating in plays and elocution periods which were compulsory; as they said it was essential for personality development.
Jaipur Comm WS
We have had a funny love-hate relationships with Movies! With King’s Speech, a change is coming over the society. In India, some good movies have been made on stammering. This movie by Ranjith Shankar (inspired by our own Sudhi from Bangalore) will easily win Oscars from us in TISA. (Review, more). Let us know if you found a movie which portrays stammering and other diversities in a creative and positive way.
Review of Kaabil by Anurag Mishra
THEATER is known to help many of us for a variety of reasons; Animesh of Banglore SHG is facilitating a complete experience, covering script development, basic voice and acting skills etc. He plans to finalize the scripts by 12th March; finalizing actors and character they play by 15th/16th March and Rehearsals by April end or mid-May 2017. Then, it will be time for curtains and spot lights! If you are anywhere close to Banglore, do get in touch with Banglore SHG. Dont discount yourself. Since birth, we have done nothing but acting! Haven’t we? (Check more, for what this SHG has been up to!)
Do you think, you have failed Interviews just because you stammer? You guess your boss knows about your stammering but you yourself have never talked about it in your office, have you? You have never told your colleagues about TISA? You have never displayed the memento or the group photo from the last NC at your office table?
Aha, no wonder, you feel uncomfortable in your office! And that affects your communication in the office where you spend 8+ hours everyday. On the other hand, what can a company or manager do, to get the best out of her/his team members, who may happen to stammer besides being excellent SEO experts? Because productivity is a team effort, is it not? To learn more about this aspect of our work life, read on these links from our own Abhinav (Banglore SHG). (link 1)
Is stammering a “speech” disorder, a diversity (different manner of talking) or oppression – 99% telling the 1% how to speak? This is a very interesting debate, which has intensified in recent years, as more and more pws with a background in SOCIAL sciences have joined the discussion. Earlier, the scene was dominated by SLPs and the discussion was limited to techniques, relapse and research methodology alone.
If we recall our childhood, many of us will remember that we personally had no problem with our manner of talking. It was others who kept on reminding that something is wrong and “YOU” have to do something about it. They had no clue that they too had a role to play as listeners. Many of us were literally bullied into therapy – if the family could afford it.
It was like a child from a village, who was being manipulated or forced to learn English, so that s/he will have a “Bright future”! This points to the politics of stammering and therapy. This was captured well in these lines in a review recently: ” there is a psychological cost in striving for normalcy, and that SLPs are often complicit in creating the desire to be normal within stutterers…”
If you are interested in exploring this dimension of your life, please check these resources. Let me warn you at the outset: the ideas are RADICAL and presume that you have some grounding in social sciences. Give it a try – you have nothing to lose- except shame, fear and guilt.
Articles which analyse assumptions behind speech therapy ( I have quoted from, above)..
An interesting discussion: Is it possible to have speech therapy that doesn’t also teach there is something wrong with your voice that needs to be fixed?
Happy reading and exploring!
Three Steps & Jump!
This website is a travelogue of our journey which began sometime in 2007 with the publication of Twelve Questions, a primer in Hindi and English on stammering for Indian audience. (- Or maybe even earlier!). This inner journey consists of three steps and a mighty leap of faith! You too are welcome to join. Read on..
The first step is accepting upfront that I am facing a problem, that I stammer – no less, no more. Discovering that you alone can help yourself – but by helping others: this is the second step. Third step is going to the heart of the stammering riddle: Communication! Like everyone else under the sun, we the stammerers, also have to practice and hone our communication skills. What better place to practice it, than in the company of one another? Yes, self-help groups, physical and virtual, constitute a major evolutionary strategy in our search for healing, wholeness and inner acceptance.
And now comes the final and the longest bungee jump, for those who have stumbled their way to the “cliff”: If I am not my stammering, nor my fluency, then who am I? to what purpose was I given this life experience?
We do not offer answers. We only walk with you- in solidarity. Your quest is ours too. And believe us, it is a long journey- but fun, when undertaken with like-minded people.
TISA is an association of Indian people who stammer (IPWS). Its purpose is to collect and disseminate relevant, correct and unbiased information for people who stammer and their families, friends and society. It is a self help movement, where PWS learn to help each other and themselves in the ancient Indian spirit: “This Self is to be achieved through self-effort!” Further, the reason for TISA to exist is to redefine the moment of “stammering”, its meaning and reclaim words like stammerer (hakla). We want to change the rules of the game itself – nothing less.
If you want your book listed here, share with us!
Unblock Your Wisdom – a deep look at the mystery moment (BLOCK) and what it could do for us! “….Unless we completely understand our stammering , we can’t overcome it and we can deeply understand why the block occur , only after entering in it and reviewing it by ourselves by being in present moment …”
From the Shadows of the mountains : Devika – a biography : A life straddling disability and discrimination based on gender and social roots. An excerpt from the ebook:
As soon as she became pregnant, she was told -” It better be a boy. I want a boy.”
Devika said, ” What if it is a girl?”
“I don’t know. I just told you- I want a boy.”
Devika knew now that her unborn child was in serious trouble…
हकलाने पर बात किसी से भी, कभी भी की जा सकती है – अगर आप तैयार हैं! क्या आप तैयार हैं? असली मुद्दा ये है! अगर पॉलिटिक्स, पायथन, एपस, फैशन पे बात हो सकती है, तो हकलाने पे क्यों नहीं? ये चुप रहने की साजिश किस की है? एक बार पहल करें और देखें कितना फायदा होता है..(नीचे)
किसी से कभी भी
YOU CHANGE BY DOING
Not by “thinking” or “knowing”! Please browse around; Check “If You Stammer” page above; You may register and leave behind a post on our blog. Share about yourself and your journey. Feel free to join a self help group in your area – OR start a new one. Here is a broader list. Fire off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. One of us will get in touch. Whatever! Just don’t give up! You have reached home – finally! If you want to “test waters” check out our online sessions below:
Google Hangouts, Skype Calls
Yes, if it is coming from a place of acceptance, strength and celebration. Can you laugh at your own blocks? Can you laugh at funny situations caused by stammering in YOUR life? Then, you can rapidly move on and become a good communicator and a genuine & social person!
Reactions, 1st NC
मैंने ब्लैकबोर्ड पर एक वाक्य लिखा- ‘‘हर व्यक्ति के लिए धाराप्रवाह बोलना आवश्यक है।’’ फिर उपस्थित शिक्षकों से पूछा कि आप लोग इस वाक्य के बारे में क्या सोचते हैं? इस सवाल पर सबकी राय अलग-अलग थी। (आगे जानिये )
हर रविवार को मुम्बई के घाटकोपर इलाके में हकलाने वाले लोगों के स्वयं सहायता समूह की बैठक आयोजित होती है। यहां पर शिल्पा बाकी सब लोगों से थोड़ा अलग हैं। (आगे पढ़ें )
जब से मैंने अपनी हकलाहट को स्वीकार है तब से अपने परिवार, रिश्तेदार, मित्र और बाहर वालों को एकदम सहज ही पाया है। लगभग 1 या 2 प्रतिशत लोग ही मेरी हकलाहट पर असहज हुए हैं। (पढ़ें)
HOW DO WE WORK
We sensitise and orient people who stammer through free Communication workshops, online interactions and self help group sessions. Get-togethers and National conferences help you build social network, friendships and support groups. We do not offer “Therapy”. We offer friendship instead! We believe that LIFE can be lived fully, before “cure” (if there was one!); that sincere communication is more important than “fluency” in the long run. Finally, we believe that stammerers can be served better, if stammering was seen as a diversity rather than a disorder!
Have you ever helped a stranger? Did you remember the nice feeling? Yes, ages of pain, sadness, feelings of not being “good enough” – all this can be blasted away with just one gelatin stick: going out of your way and helping someone who may never be able to pay back. A stranger. You don’t have to give them Tazmahal – just a little help: tell them the address they are looking for, a glass of water or tea, offer them a seat, carry their grocery bag, teach a child Maths/ English, help with home-work, give away your old clothes, offer a meal to a poor man- anything. The royal toad to RECOVERY! Try it today. Read more
HOW TO JOIN
No formalities. Just start by participating in our events, our SHGs. Your stammering is your Platinum member card. Dont hesitate to show it. Write a post about it. Put up a youtube video about what you think about stammering (not what you were told!)- and share the link with us. This is how you volunteer – by participating! You are welcome to start a self help group, near your home, where you work or online. If you have other ideas let us know. But self help group is a good place to learn about TISA, and yourself – and also how you can help other pws and this movement. Read on..
I sometime hold my breath- and then, explode! How do I know when I am going to hold my breath? Many pws have asked such questions. Breath awareness is a special skill. It requires turning attention inwards; being alert and relaxed at the same time. It needs some practice and some instruction. A ten day Vipassana course is highly recommended. It is free. Its usefulness goes FAAAAR beyond stammering and communication. If you have tried all kinds of therapy and Intensive programs and have not benefited in the long run- it is time to check this “systems” approach to personal change and a lot more. Here are some testimonies to prepare you and inspire you: From Tanveer, Pramendra Bundela, Dr Mansi. Get back after the course and share your insights with us.
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