Okay, you stammer? And you thought you are special?
All of us here at TISA, stammer – happily! In India, 1 crore plus people stammer. In the world, 6 crore and more stammer. Okay, so one thing is settled: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Next, what can you do about it? You can learn from other stammerers. Right? Because over the years we do learn something from our stammering- dont we? That is what we can discuss and share. Right?
PWS or Stammerer?
Sometime we call them “pws”- people who stammer (or stutter). What is in a name, as Shakespeare said, a stammerer by any other name will still sound as cute… Actually, pws is based on “People First” principle: first people, then their diversity or issue – like people who stammer, people who use wheelchair etc. (wiki)
What about 'Hakla'?
On another note, when I have become OK with MYSELF, what does it matter if someone calls me Hakla? This is a high state of acceptance, where your self-concept transcends these labels. This way, you also reclaim a word, which in itself is fine. If calling someone a “farmer” is not an insult, how can calling someone a “stammerer” be an insult? By challenging this politics of labels, we move towards “stammering pride”. If you wish to dig deeper into the politics of language and labels, please check this website. For the present, let us leave it here, since this topic belongs to TISA’s PhD syllabus!
Life is much more than stammering
Many of us keep dreaming: I will do this and that, when I have fixed my stammering. Time passes. One day, you wake up with a start. And regret. Experts and people who stammer are unanimous about one thing: Stammering does not stop you from anything. It does not stop you from cultivating various talents, learning martial arts, excelling at sports, writing, making friends, traveling, learning languages etc etc. In fact, these pursuits improve the chances of your recovery, because they help you to be more social, communicate in variety of situations, raise your self-concept and by letting you have a creative outlet.
So, What can you do?
At times it may seem that you are fighting a losing battle. But NO! You can reverse the trend; you can refocus, recalibrate and reconnect with those who have helped themselves. Learn from the Pros! But you have to take the lead and the “ownership” of yourown well being. Here are some steps:
- You can talk (or write) more about yourself and your stammering. You can send us your brief bio and a photo. You can share your thoughts on the blog. Many people have done this in last ten years and have felt the instant benefits.
- You can learn more about stammering. (HMPS video, AHJ book- Hindi and English- links on the left)
- You can join a nearby self help group (check this list). If there is no SHG where you live, you can consider starting one. You need just one pws to begin with: YOU! Here is how you can go about it.
- You may check out online conferences and groups (link) which meet most nights on Google groups or skype. You can join one of the whatsapp groups (Amit: 9654176670 ).
- You can browse this video list: see people stammering and sharing something very interesting. Then, you may talk into your web-camera and upload your video on youtube – and send us the link. This is sure way of getting feedback on your communication and making friends online. This is also a very nice way of seeing how you communicate.
- Keep checking this site and attend our next event: you will meet many interesting people, make friends and learn useful things – techniques too, if you want to.
- Whatever you do- remember: stammering is a social problem (we don’t stammer when alone) and therefore social activities benefit a lot. Secondly, if stammering has developed over years, it will surely take some time to un-learn it. Have patience and work consistently for some months or an year. Don’t give up.
- Finally, NOTHING will change if you keep browsing internet! Get up and take that first step. It feels frightening but it is not that bad. Talk to a stranger. Record your video. Put it on the youtube. Call old friends. Join a SHG… Anything.
If you are in your forties and fifties, you have probably gone beyond the battles for getting a job and a wife/partner. May be, a little hurt, a tinge of sadness, is still there, deep down in your soul. You too can do something: Get involved. Listen to a young stammerer and encourage her or him. Counsel them about education, career and relationships. Don’t send them off on a wild goose chase after “cure”- because there is none at physical plain. Instead, share your own story and tell them that other things in life matter too: listening carefully, excelling at the job, willingness to learn new skills, spending time with friends and having fun etc.
If you are a woman who stammers- we can understand the agony and the troubles of growing up as a girl, in a patriarchal society and dealing with stammering on a daily basis. But have courage! TISA has some experienced women too who can counsel you and help you. To begin with, strat talking about it, like this and this. If possible, start meeting other WWS (link) – in person or on skype/ phone/ whatsapp. Such meetings can transform you, besides being so much FUN. See the video below. Contact our women’s wing at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We discuss and share about self-help, which is quite effective and accessible for many of us. We neither offer “speech therapy” nor act as a referral center. Generally speaking, going to a Therapist in a government hospital may be your next best course of action in this country -IMHO. Here is our recent post discussing this question in some depth. Whatever you do, take an informed decision, stick to it, give yourself some time for change to take place. And check this too – Happy Losers!