Is there a cure?

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No offense meant to anyone but TISA
encourages pws to share their therapy history to promote awareness
about various options available to us and also to explore the
possibility of “cure”. As we know, almost ANY technique will help
pws in the short term. But the real test of claims of cure need to be
examined in the long term. Here is a sharing from Kushal from Kolkata:
I have been stammering as far back as I
can remember. I remember few glimpses of my childhood where I did
stammer when called out to speak. I also recall avoiding
participating in Debates and Elocutions owing to my stammering. I did
however take part in Theatre, where like most of stutters my
stuttering “vanished” onstage. I also remember my parents taking
me to a few speech therapists in my early childhood, however I was
totally unconcerned about my stammering at that stage of my life and
did nothing in this regard back then. In fact I remember vehemently
refusing to see any therapists again.
The environment in which I was brought
up during my schooldays was very congenial and I never really felt
the pinch of being a stammerer. Friends, teacher and acquaintances
were very accommodating of my stammer. Also I feel that being quite
good at academics and sports compensated for this drawback.
My first effort at speech therapy began
which a local doctor, specializing in speech and hearing
disabilities. This was during my maiden year of college (2005). He
focused on reading and speaking in a prolongated manner and on
relaxation techniques. However I had little benefit as I took those
sessions in an isolated mannerapply the
taught manner of speech outside. Also honestly the urge to
overcome my stammering was not there at that point of time
.
Looking back, I feel that the sessions were a substantial waste of
money. and never did
My next and a very important step
towards overcoming my stammer came when my father took me to a two
weeks workshop on Stammering Cure held by Mr P B in Kolkata. This was
held between 24th December 06 and 7th January
07. There were around 50 – 60 participants in the workshop. The
energy was electrifying and I made great progress there. It must be
stated that I was among the group of 3 or 4 severe stammers in the
batch of 50 plus. I made rapid progress and Mr B’s technique worked
wonderfully for me, in fact I remember that my progress attracted the
attention of many including that of Sir’s.
However the road ahead is seldom
smooth. I soon hit a roadblock. I began to be afflicted by doubts.
Doubts whether I will actually cure my stammer, whether I will have
to carry on speaking in this “slow and artificial manner” etc
etc. It must be noted that I had acquired this habit of worrying and
getting tensed over trifles (probably due to my competitive nature
from childhood) and this completely spilled over to this area. Owing
to this, the doubts kept multiplying and impeded my progress to a
great extent. I expressed my concerns to Mr B, who somewhat
downplayed it. Looking back I really wish that I hadn’t spent those
hours and hours worrying about the difficulties “that may happen in
the future”.
Anyways continuing, I did my practices
with dedication and when college reopened, my progress in speech was
evident. It made me feel real good. However I faced the problem of
not “applying the suggested style of speaking”. Though I
regularly practiced my speech in the morning (eg Deep Breathing,
Vocal Exercise, Slow Reading etc), I was completely failing to apply
it in real time
. In real time, the old and my natural style of
speaking(which many have remarked contains a lot of excitement
appeared everytime)
. Also doubts resurfaced time and again.
Eventually the hours of practice decreased and stopped altogether
after some months. One point to be mentioned here, that prior to Mr
B’s course, I suffered facial distortions while speaking. These
decreased to a great extent after the course, and now I think I
rarely suffer from facial distortions while speaking.
That year, 07 can be compared to that
of a child’s first year at school, where he/she recognized the
alphabets, can read and write a little in those large “out of
shape” manner, but progressing.
Mr P B came back the next year for
another two week workshop, and I attending it with heart and soul.
Also he was gracious enough to let all the ex-students including me
attend his workshop for free. I clearly remember speaking absolutely
fluently
(in the suggested style) when conversing individually
with my batchmates there. They were impressed with my progress.
However problem persisted to quite an extent when called on to speak
on the Microphone and when asking questions in front of everybody.
However I feel that I did reasonably well during the workshop.
Following the workshop I did
considerable practice for a few days and researched about stammering
on the internet for the first time. I came to know of the American
Stuttering Center, The Maguire Program and read the book on
Stammering cure by Malcolm Frazer. The book by Malcolm Frazer I felt
was well written and addressed some of my personal conflicts. Another
inspiring video was the journey of overcoming stammering by Gareth
Gates, the runner up of Pop Idol. He did suffer from a severe stammer
(displaying different symptoms from me), but had overcome it to a
large extent over the years. He had undergone the Maguire Program.
Another inspiring speaker was Gareth Gates personal guide and
recovering-stammerer himself. His words still ring in my head, “And
I practice every day……”
That year 08, I practiced in an on-off
fashion, practicing for a couple of days then abandoning it for a
couple of days and again taking it up. Also there remained the
lacking issue of applying. I also came across a very
disturbing article in the net titled “Incurable Stammering” by Dr
Eugene or so. He had written the article on a patient of his, Todd.
Todd had had a sever stammer and though he had overcome his stutter
to a great extent under Dr Eugene, he had not been satisfied and had
taken a speech therapy course somewhere. There he was taught to speak
in a slow prolonging manner etc. (exactly like Mr B’s technique).
This did a short term good, but worsened his state in the long run.
This article really disturbed me from inside, reviving my old fears
and doubts to the very core. (A note here, Mr B discourages the
practice of Internet research regarding Stammering and to accept his
method as the complete solution – something, though I respect him
very much, disagree to). I worried for a long time regarding this
issue and eventually decided to do Mr B’s practices in the
morning but instead of applying his suggested manner of speaking
follow the guidelines written in the book of Malcolm Frazer as that
appeared to be do-able in real time
.(I had all along been
ingrained with the belief that Mr B’s style of speaking is too
artificial and not practically applicable. Also I had through
experience felt that during the days in which I had done Sir’s
practices in the mornings, my speech was better off and I experienced
less blocking. Also Vocal Exercises seemed very effective in reducing
the blocks I experienced).
I am tremendously ashamed to admit
that though I did practice almost regularly I again never implemented
the guidelines of Malcolm Frazer. It only remained and continues
to remain in blueprint
. (This is the single most important point
why I have to admit that my progress in stammering cure has been so
tardy and continues to).
The years 08 and 09 where spent in
bouts of practices and then relapses. In between I had my campus
interviews, during which I remember stammering abnormally severely,
but nevertheless made it to a reputed MNC. These years where like
the Sensex graph, marked by uncertain fluctuations but gradually
rising overall.
In the year 2010, during March I again
went to Mr B. This time I attended a prolonged session of 3 to 4
weeks in Bangalore where he runs the centre. He was again gracious
enough to accept only half the course fees . However this time, my
mind was not solely concentrated on stammering unlike the previous
two workshops. I was busy with my admissions to my Masters
side-by-side. This I feel took the shin of the progress to an extent.
Also I was determined that I would not speak in his suggested
technique which appeared artificial to me. I would rather concentrate
on a blend between his techniques and that of those suggested by
Malcolm Frazer. During the course, I expressed my apprehensions to
him, the chief being that “Through experience I had realized
that whenever the focus on stammering cure was lost in the course of
the days owing to work, studies etc, my stammering returned rapidly.
What was the way out? One obviously could not devote exclusively a
period of a year or two to stammering cure, one has to attend to
other duties, and this very event caused the mental focus to shift
from stammering whereby stammering resurfaced rapidly
.” He
acknowledged this fact, I remember his words ,”Yes. For examples
Cricketers eat cricket, sleep cricket.” However, to my question he
showed me a mail written by one of his ex-students, now a researcher
at Harvard, Dr S P. Dr P had written to Mr B thanking him profoundly
for the huge impact he had made on his life. This caught my attention
and made me rethink.
I subsequently contacted Dr P and was
convinced that Mr B’s techniques were indeed effective. and that I
ought to follow it more closer to the letter. (I had no doubt
realized long ago the effectiveness of his method of stammering cure,
the only objection I had was the “artificial and seemly
emotion-less” manner of speaking suggested)
Another interesting and inspiring
incident worth mentioning is, for a brief period I was employed as a
Research Assistant in a research center in Gurgaon, there a MIT
professor Dr M S had come to give a seminar. To my surprise, he had a
stammer, easily recognized by a fellow stammerer, but not easily
noticed by others. I later approached him in this regard and he said
that he previously had had a very severe stammer, which he overcame
by self-talk for hours and hours. Some of his words were ,”I had to
work bloody hard to overcome my stammer.” “You have to find
out how you can overcome your blocks, what works for you
.” He
also suggested the point of Gentle Phonation, to counter the
tendency of stammers who apply excessive pressure during the
commencement of speech.
Thus the years 10 and surprisingly 11
have passed away in this mind-frame. I have sort of chosen my path to
overcome my stammer, but must confess that I am applying it to a very
small degree. Progress has been made in the fronts of like, I had rid
myself of facial distortions to a large extent, I almost now never
try and hide my stammering and hence am less tensed inside. I have in
the course of these years opened up more and have become quite a
gregarious person from the once introvert. I have as a repeated
practice, spoken to a lot of strangers and have felt really good
about it.
Having said that I can point out the
single most point of lapse. That lies in implementation. This I
find is the hardest step in the journey to overcoming my stammer.
During the course of any normal day out of say 40 instances of
speech, I probably speak 1or 2 instances in the style suggested by Mr
B and rarely have my mental focus of stammering while speaking. This
I feel is very important, and aught to be thoroughly focused on in
the coming year 2012. Also the other important point is Focus. Just
like only the concentrated sunrays can burn a piece of paper,
likewise only focused and sustained effort on stammering day-in and
day-out will bear worthwhile fruits. In fact I am just a beginner
here. I can’t recall more than 5 days in succession (apart from the
workshop days) where I have maintained a concentrated focus on
stammering and it various implementations. However I sincerely
believe that 2012 is going to be a very different year, marked by a
big leap towards stammering cure. Personally I feel that a lot of
“secrets” of overcoming my stammer is known, what remains is the
implementation.
4 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. admin 6 years ago

    thanks kushal for sharing ur experience honestly … while reading ur post i was feeling like life is moving in backward direction…
    keep sharing 🙂

  2. admin 6 years ago

    Reading you post makes me feel that you are already "cured" because only a pws who has come out of that stuttering mindset can see things so objectively…

  3. D B 6 years ago

    Thanks KUSAL for your in-depth analysis and I,a PWS, want you to express your technique so that other stammer can get help.

  4. Prajukta Banerjee 2 years ago

    Thanks for your info. Actually one of my friend was faced earlier same stammering. Then we visit Bengal Speech clinic at Kolkata. For there we find some good clinic whom are well as good about Stammering cure.

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