Just came back from the first National Conference on Stuttering in India,it has been nothing less than an enlightening experience from me,it wasnt just about stammering,it was about meeting people from all across the country having nothing in common but they way they speak.More about that later though (I will be posting about the conference in a short while).
A question that haunts most pws is that whether they should go for speech therapy or practice acceptance by advertising their stutter,joining shg’s,etc.What I believe is that a combination of the two is the answer.Here’s what I believe should be ideally done-The major obstacle in the recovery process is FEAR.A renowned SLP who hosted the whole conference said that whenever faced by a feared speech situation we should learn to “react” to it by our intelligent human self instead of “responding” to it by our animalistic self.So the next question is how to reach such a level so that we react instead of respond.Imagine this,the first to time you drove a car.You knew everything as what had to be done-ignition,clutch,gear,leave clutch slowly and accelerate,clutch,second gear and so on….. But all of us know that the first time is far more difficult than this 2 line theory.You have to drive the car for a atleast a week till you really start getting whats really happening and in a matter of time you dont really need to remember what needs to be done.And at this stage you can learn all about how to drive in heavy traffic or how to drive when racing with friends(Dont do it though 🙂 )
I hope you are getting what I am trying to say.
Just like driving,you need to get your fear out first before you can learn some techniques.For that the acceptance practices are necessary.Believe me,I have tried every other possible way out and there is none.You gotta go out,advertising your stutter,join shg’s,attend workshops and try to be open about your stuttering. By doing such practices you will slowly start to get what all is happening to you when you stutter instead of going in a semi-numb state of mind.Slowly you will start to analyze your stutter with your mind with no emotions involved whatsoever. In due course of time you will surely reach a level where you dont feel your stammer as a big issue in your life. After this you can always go for speech techniques(read pro-techniques) if you feel the need like prolongation,in-block,mid block,after block corrections i.e. to say that you can take advantage from these techniques only after you learn to react not respond to speaking situations.Acceptance doesnt mean to accept your stutter as it is,it doesnt mean not working on your speech,its just a means to to ensure that you manage your stutter both in the mouth as well as in the mind.
All of this is my personal opinion without no influence whatsoever.I hope I have been of some help.Will be posting about the conference soon an also an interview with Beata Akerman,so keep following…..:-)