I remembered the false hopes that many speech therapists had given me, the advertisements that said “Cure Stammering in two weeks”, I cursed them for blinding me from the reality. TISA was the first organization that didnt look like a commercial body, like the numerous SLPs who ‘sell’ hope to stutterers for a huge price. TISA was like a friend who genuinely wanted to help me.
The first method I tried was the Record, Review and Analyze, to study your own body language. On one evening meeting with my girl-friend I asked her to record me when I was speaking to her. Back at home, I reviewed the video and noted down, what’s unusual about my body language. The results surprised me, because I could see the struggle I am doing to have a normal speech, and the secondary effects of the struggle that showed up. To her, it wasn’t anything new, she was used to it, but I almost laughed at myself when I saw my speech. Then I thought how strangers would be reacting to it. The secondary behaviors that I noted down were:
- Fickleness, and looking here and there (unable to keep my head constant at a place)
- Avoiding to speak much, and waiting for her to complete the sentence. (Very bad, one of the greatest reasons why we don’t share a good chemistry)
- Feeling of embarrassment, and checking my face and hair constantly in the mirror.
- Feeling of guilt and helplessness (and falling silent and trying to calm myself down)
- Forgetting what to say and speaking on rubbish topics (other than the stuff that she’ll love)
- When I got conscious of the recording, stuttering increased many fold (with stuttering in every word of a sentence)
- She asked me why I am feeling nervous, and says “tumhara hath bhi stammer kar raha hai..”
- Trying to substitute words a lot, (I am poor in hindi, so running out of words too soon, causing a block)
- Laughing off for no reason, when I get stuck on a word.
There might be other observations that you may notice (I have posted the video right here). I decided that I had to work a lot on my speech. Its enough now, I have to stop this behavior and act normal. The biggest question that struck my mind that day was – “Of course I am very lucky to have a girl like her who understands me and wants to be with me despite my problem. But, isn’t unfortunate that I am failing to give her the chemistry that every girl dreams of?”
I had stated thinking from the moment I saw the video. Thanks to Dr Sachin for writing such a great manual. I immediately started a SHG on phone and internet with two guys whom I met at Stammering Cure Center in Bangalore. They all have the same story of the shame and guilt of severe stuttering even with their friends and family.
Stammering is a social problem, it happens when we are with other human beings. Stammering doesn’t happen when we’re alone. It should be dealt in the real world amongst people, rather than slow-reading practice inside a closed room with a mirror. Will post more about my experience soon. Have a great day PWS. 🙂