Above: 1. JP leads a discussion; 2. Sunny & Anshul conduct Stammering Interviews, while JP supervises.
Above: 1. Raja- pros & cons of starting an SHG; 2. Stuttering interviews on ROAD!
3. Devang conducting stuttering interviews with two strangers
Raja’s phone was not working in Pune. He sent an sms using the phone of a fellow traveller. I and JP arrived by 9.15 am in the conference hall- a little late to our consternation. Some participants did not have a holiday today, so the strength was a little low: about 9 participants. Silence, Recap, Feedback- all this in an interactive mode. We shared the message from Nitin, the founding trustee of TISA and a very senior IT professional from Delhi. His message to young IT professionals was: dont make stammering the “pole star” of life. Dont postpone living in search of “cure”!
Then, we had a practice session for bouncing, prolongation, pausing and vol.stuttering. This was followed by block correction techniques- even though it was a little early, but it was more for future reference.
When Raja joined us, we had another round of introductions using some technique- and some time no techniques, just as the words came to us. Raja is a senior IT professional and heads the Hyderabad chapter. There were mini discussions in between. Is there discrimination against PWS in IT sector? Should / can the PWS be given a chance to talk to overseas clients? Will it affect the “business”? Will the overseas client really be shocked to hear an Indian stammering? Are there other “minorities” which face discrimination in society and in IT sector? Is IT sector totally driven by excellence and “technical” competence and no other consideration? The group had some senior managers too, who were able to give a different perspective on the issue of discrimination.
After lunch, we had two video clips to discuss the possible outcomes of Acceptance: One extreme where Dr Joseph Sheehan (No words to say) has become quite fluent after about ten years’ struggle. The other end of the spectrum was represented by a clip of Marty Zejer from Unspeakable. Marty, a well known name in stuttering circles and a writer of many books, tried many therapies, practiced acceptance no end, but still remained quite dis-fluent to the very end.
So what does Acceptance gain for us? A lot of peace of heart and mind- which may or may not translate into fluency. It was considered important to highlight this, since many IPWS nurture a secret hope that if they practiced Acceptance of their stammering, one day soon it will go away and they will become a “normally fluent” person. We discussed the essentially unknown variations in the way our brains worked, even though our stammer seemed externally similar at times.
Then Raja, shared his experiences of starting a self help group in Hyderabad soon after attending the first communication workshop; how he saw it beneficial for himself and others; the issues he faced in the process etc. After some questions, answers and discussions, related to his presentation, we went to a nearby spot on the road for stuttering interviews. Participants were divided in twos, given the questionnaire, briefed by JP. Everyone had “butterflies” in the pit of stomach.. But no stutterer worthy of his salt has ever turned away from a challenge!
The pictures and videos will tell the reader that it was great fun. Many beliefs got challenged in the process. Almost everyone said that it was the first time they had done something like this and that they felt immensely good, having successfully completed this last assignment of the day. We dispersed after the debriefing of these stammering interviews.