Saturday, December 26, 2009

Is Sss...s...Stammering a Disease..??


No, its not.

There are more than 45 million people in the world today who stammer and approximately 10 million live in India . Stammering is predominantly a 'male' condition (80% of all stammerers are male) and it usually affects the first-born male child. A significant majority of stammerers (65%) have a family history of the disorder; usually the father who stammers or speaks at a rapid rate. Nearly always, stammering starts before the child is 5 years of age. If left untreated, it peaks in severity around the age of 10 to 18 years and then begins to stabilize or fade away as the stammerer grows older.

A stammerer knows precisely what he wants to say but cannot, for the moment, say it because of an involuntary repetition, prolongation or cessation of the speech sound. Research suggests that the disorder might be caused due to a 'neurological mistiming' during the act of speech which leaves the stammerer confused about when exactly to say the word he wants to say. Speaking is not merely the movement of the tongue but involves a fine coordination of both mental and physical processes. Like all other physical actions, the act of speech is the result of neuro-muscular coordination which involves the transmitting of electro-chemical messages from the brain to the appropriate muscle groups. For everyone of us (non-stammerers and stammerers alike), this neuro-muscular system sometimes trips and fails especially during moments of inadequate emotional control. Haven't we all found the quality of our speech delivery changing with our feelings as we experience thrill, anger, fear, joy or other such strong emotions? For the stammerer, this 'tripping' occurs much more frequently than it does for normal speakers. Whenever he faces what he perceives as a 'feared' situation, the stammerer adopts a mind-set which triggers off spasms of speech-blocks. Such fears can also center around certain speech sounds or even certain people.

Scientists have yet to pin-point the exact cause of stammering. In ancient times, the condition was attributed to every possible source including sometimes the devil himself. One can only guess the varieties of tortures undergone by stammerers in their quest for speech fluency in those days. Even now, stammering has remained a confusing speech impediment for the sufferer as well as for those who have attempted to cure it through medicines.

One stammerer poignantly asks :
I can see
I can hear
I can sprightly walk.
Why do all my problems surface When I try to talk?

In their desperate search for fluency, many stammerers in India subject themselves to a myriad of so-called treatments ranging from swallowing vile concoctions to allowing themselves to be pierced with needles and cut with knives. Actually, such treatments hold no relevance to the problem of stammering and only cause greater frustration in the long run.

Yoga and meditation might really hold the key to solving the problem of stammering. With the greater sense of emotional and intellectual balance that these disciplines promote, the stammerer might find them of tremendous help in his attempts to develop
better control over his speech.

Dr. Edward Conture, Professor of Speech Pathology at Syracuse University, New York, talks about what causes stammering :

"Things that cause stammering may be, and probably are, quite different from the things that keep it going, aggravate or worsen it. For example, if you mishandle a knife, you may cut your finger. The knife causes the cut and initial pain. Salt rubbed into the cut makes the pain continue or even worsen it but the salt does not cause the cut". Dr. Conture says, scientists "...still haven't found the 'knife' that causes stammering. However, we do know something about the 'salt' that keeps it going, makes it worse or aggravates it".

These are aspects which can be changed through self-therapy to help the person overcome his speaking difficulty.

Many of the Non-stammerers might experience a feeling of embarrassment when we converse with stammerers; some of us look away while others go ahead to complete their sentences for them. In talking with a stammerer, the following hints might be of help:

  1. Listen to what is said, not how it is said.

  2. Be patient and don't hurry the person talking.

  3. Try to maintain natural eye contact.

  4. Simplistic advice ("breathe properly", "don't worry", "don't be afraid", etc.) though well- meant is not always helpful.

  5. Stammerers have difficulty when talking but don't assume they are stupid or confused about what they are saying.

  6. Many stammerers have difficulty when they speak on the telephone. Please do not hang up if the caller is taking longer than usual or if he is silent for a while.
    Stammerers usually try and hide their speech problem from their listeners. This attempt at camouflage is counter-productive because it only acts as psychological 'fuel' for even more speech-blocks. If the stammerer is open about his speech difficulty, he experiences lesser stress and is able to speak with greater control.

In the final analysis, stammering can be overcome if the sufferer seeks scientific, professional guidance and is ready to work towards achieving speech fluency through regular practice of therapeutic techniques. It certainly cannot disappear by ingesting some magic potent!

This article is taken from :-

link

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do's and Don'ts for the Non-PWS

The hatred for stammering by all PWS has it's origin in the kind of reaction that they are met with when talking to the world, or the non-PWS which are relatively more fluent ( I won't say fluent ) then the PWS. A PWS will be at his / her ease when speaking to another PWS, because they respond just the way that is comfortable to the speaker.

This happens because non-PWS cannot relate to what goes behind a PWS mind. And they are always ill-prepared on how to deal with the situation when they have to communicate with a PWS. So, here's a list of Do's and Don'ts for the non-PWS, that may help to give rise to a better and productive conversation :

Do's
1. Do listen to him / her with patience. Give him / her time.
2. Do maintain a straight eye contact with him / her.
3. Do motivate and encourage him / her to do things, like extra-carricular, creative, with regards to speech or things related to work.

Don'ts
1. Don't complete the sentences / words for a him / her.
2. Don't make crooked faces by stretching your eye-brows or ears.
3. Don't nod without understanding.
4. Don't start speaking your sentence while he / she is stammering and is completing his / her sentence.
5. Don't hesitate to talk to a PWS because he / she might stammer.

by Harish
Usgaonker

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

8th meeting of Jammu SHG

On 29th Nov(Sunday) we had our 8th meeting of Jammu SHG. This was the longest one. Started at 11 am and went on to around 2:45 pm. We started our meeting with usual discussion.Rajesh cleared the 2nd round of the interview and got selected. Then we moved on to Sharing our Ambitions.

Each and everyone of us is very Ambitious and we talked about that from our school time to present day Ambition. Bcoz we are having some kiddish Ambitions in school and as we grew up and responsibilities increases, our Ambitions also changes.

Then we started discussing our fretful encounters with something supernatural or Paranormal Activities like Ghosts,spirits etc, if any.All this was increasing our excitement and triggering stammering but we tried our best to handle this excitement and control our stammering.

After a long discussion of our encounters with supernatural things I began to tell them about the concept of Parallel universes,CERN's Large Hadron Collider(LHC) experiment. Then we discussed few more interesting topics such as UFOs, Aliens,Area 51,John Titor(the Time Traveler) etc.

All the topics were very interesting and thatz why it took around 4 hours to discuss it all. We started these topics bcoz I think that we got bored of talking about stammering and techniques and other stuff related to stammering. So we should have this kindaa chat sometimes in our SHG meetings.

This meeting was very much interesting, especially for me, bcoz I was having a lot about these things within me and finally It came out and now I am feeling very very relaxed. Same will be with Addy and Rajesh too . We also discussed about girls,love etc. So this was even more interesting.....jus kidding.

So this was all about our 8th meeting.Stay tuned to get more on our 9th meeting.

Success! In Spite Of (or maybe because of?) Stuttering - Personal Stories

Robert's Story: Frustration Gave Me Strength to Prove Myself

As far as I can remember, for the whole of my childhood, I have been stuttering, possibly since the age of 3. According to my mother my stuttering was a consequence of great fear, which expressed itself through the many nightmares I had when I was a small child.

Before I started school I had a lot of friends. We played and had fun. But my primary school years were rather sad. I was plagued by teasing at school. Neither the teachers nor the higher authority of the school supported me. Those schooldays were very frustrating and emotionally a very heavy burden. Due to these unbearable tortures at school, I decided to quit school at the age of 14. School left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Although I was a good student, I simply could not tolerate it that people were laughing at me all the time.

However, in my opinion, this frustration gave me the strength to prove myself to my relatives and friends. I would show them that I was a capable person!

I developed myself through self study and vigilance and started to gain confidence as I went along my own way. I made new friends, who accepted me for what I was. During the weekends my parents allowed me to go out and my friends and I went out motorcrossing in the claypits. We sometimes cycled with more than 10 friends to neighboring dances and pubs. I met some girls and at the age of 17 got to know the woman I married at the age of 21. We raised a family of two daughters who are now also married and who have given us 5 adorable grandchildren.

Let me go back in time, to the point where school left me with an image of me standing at the edge of society. I felt worthless. Slowly I gained confidence through self development. At the age of 18 I asked my parents to give me a loan of 500.000 Bef (equal now to about 12.500 Euro) and I set up my own business.

The amount of money did not scare me a lot, I had the drive to show everyone what my capabilities were. I felt smart, I could reason enough so I could be an entrepreneur. So I started up my own small scale business in the region in technical material. I went out to visit customers, made my purchases and took a great deal of time for market research.

In a short time, I traveled to neighboring countries to check out the products sold there and I got a good picture of the potential market, learning the needs of the customers.

After a lot of math, I calculated that it would be possible to produce these products myself. I started my first successful production unit and we needed to add more units soon after.

In the meanwhile my children and sons in law are also busy in the company. Due to all the efforts, our company has grown to become marketleader in Belgium and on the European front we are also becoming an important player. Currently we have production units in Italy, India and China. The Main office is in Belgium where everything is coordinated. After 35 years of being a businessmen and entrepreneur I can look back at my professional and personal life and I find success.

As you can read, a person who stutters can also have a beautiful and rich life.

Not everyone may feel this way, but I personally feel now that all the teasing and the bad luck during my youth, made me stronger.


Tony's Story: Her Narrow-Mindedness Became My Inspiration

At 45 years old, I have stammered for as long as I can remember. I m left handed too, which means that in the 1600s I would certainly have been burned at the stake for my apparent "sorcery".(1) Fortunately, we live in more enlightened times now or do we?

In 1993, I had the privilege of writing in the journal "Speaking Out" about my experiences of stammering in the workplace.(2) Up to that time, I had blatantly been denied promotion in the service industry because of my stammer, then demoted when it re-appeared after being in remission for a while. I was not imagining any conspiracy theories; my employers told me quite clearly that stammering and a management position could not mix. This well known international organisation (still in business today) felt that my stammer would present a poor image of the company to its customers. So aged 29, I was removed from my junior executive position and given a job as an installation technician. My salary was halved, and future prospects looked distinctly bleak. Stammering at job interviews made it difficult for me to find alternative work, so I stayed on until my local office was closed down, resulting in redundancy. But things began to improve, and in my 1993 article, I wrote about a new opportunity that I had been offered within the NHS. Unbelievably, I was successful at interview, despite stammering so severely that I was practically incomprehensible.

Career-wise, a completely fresh start was required. I had been given a good job in the NHS, helping GPs and other health care professionals to evaluate the quality of their work. Having left school half-way through A levels, I had no real qualifications, which unfortunately limited any future prospects. My line manager, however, suggested that I might like to undertake a certificate in health services management, and provided some funding as well as protected time to study. My job gradually became more interesting, and I was eventually made a manager. In a management reshuffle (for which the NHS is still famous), my job was transferred over to the public health department. Unexpectedly, it turned out that completion of the management certificate made me eligible to read part-time for a Master of Public Health degree (MPH), and I was again encouraged and helped to enrol. This introduced me to the world of medical research and epidemiology, which I found utterly fascinating. Upon graduating with my MPH, the university offered me a job as a researcher carrying out systematic reviews of evidence for new medical technologies. This work gave me some enormously valuable practical skills in epidemiology.

I subsequently applied for a position at a different university, involving the development and management of a new MPH course, and to my amazement was offered it. Now, being a stammering NHS manager was one thing, but as you may imagine, the prospect of becoming a stammering lecturer fell way outside my comfort zone. Calling my new boss to accept the post, I protested "but my stammer - how will I get on with the lectures?" "Don't worry", she replied, "it's rather endearing" To be honest, I did not feel sufficiently competent to take on this challenge, but with hard work and plenty of luck, a course was successfully launched. With regard to the stammer, the only option was to buckle down and get on with it. So I informed my first lecture theatre full of students that some unexpected gyrations or facial contortions may occur, and these would be caused by a stutter rather than any other habit. And so for several years I stuttered profusely during lectures, but no-one appeared to laugh, and amazingly no complaints were made.

Being a public health academic was all very well, but I felt a need to update my practical skills to inform the academic activities. An opportunity to re-join the NHS in my current role as a specialist in public health presented itself, a job I am enjoying very much. I am also able to combine public health practice with acadaemia, thanks to a professorship in epidemiology that I now hold.

So installation technician to professor - that's not a bad career progression, is it? Of course, none of this would have happened without the many opportunities I have been given by people who saw through the stammer and believed in me.

By far the most important event since 1993 is that I have become a father, and have two gorgeous and exuberant children aged 6 and 11. They find the stutter a little quirky, but do not make fun of it. One intriguing point is that my family and several students tell me that they no longer notice my stammer. Indeed, it is significant that I have never come across anyone within either the NHS or acadaemia who appears to have a problem with my stammer a very different situation to my experience in industry.

So what's the point of this article? To make me sound like a lucky chap? Not really. The point is that we stammerers all have potential, but people sometimes want to make us feel inferior. When I was 18, a women, whose rudeness I am told was justified by her occupying a position of trust at work, told me that with a stammer I would could never aspire to anything beyond a basic manual job. I have taken pride in spending the last 27 years defying her! Although these individuals would use their narrow-mindedness to deny us our deserved success, we must believe in ourselves and be strong in our determination to break through these barriers. Then, with luck, we can triumph and conquer the flames of bigotry.

This article is taken from :-

http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/isad9/papers/stewart9.html


Monday, November 23, 2009

7th meeting of Jammu SHG

On 22nd Nov, we had our 7th meeting of jammu SHG. Aditya didn't come bcoz he was not well.So it was only Rajesh and me. I am in contact with 2 more pws from last 3 months and every time they promise that they will come to attend the meeting but they never show up.
So its their bad luck that they doesn't want to help themselves.

We started the meeting with some casual talks. Then we talked about Rajesh's interview that he had yesterday.Rajesh is already working in a finance company but he is looking for a better job. So he went for an interview in a Sub-sis of Intex. There was an opening for an Accountant.

About his Interview :-

There were around 50 people and out of them 10 were applying for the same post for which R is applying.Each and everyone of them was having lots of experience.Someone with 10 yrs,5 yrs and the least was with 2 years of experience. And here was Rajesh with only 6 months of experience.But still he went for the interview. The interviewer asked him to introduce himself. He started with a lil bit of hesitation and thus stammering. He was a bit shy at the beginning bcoz of his stammering. But suddenly the thought of Acceptance came into his mind and without any shame he started his Introduction.

The interviewer thought that he is a lil nervous and asked him to relax. Then R became more confident and kept on answering without any hesitation. He explained each and everything regarding Accounts in detail. And he cleared the 1st round.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer was so much impressed by his communication skills that he even gave his personal contact number to R. Out of 10, only 2 were selected and R was one of them. Now he is waiting for their call for 2nd round. I bet he will clear that too.

He said that he just used the simple techniques like slow speech, costal Breathing and prolongation and his communication was just perfect.
After that we disscussed a few more things about the Movie "The Unspeakable" and few more things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

American Institute for Stuttering - 3rd Annual Benefit Gala


On June 8, 2009, the American Institute for Stuttering held its 3rd Annual Benefit Gala at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. TD Ameritrade chairman Joe Moglia and British actress Emily Blunt were recipients of the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Award to recognize them as great achievers who have overcome their stuttering. Esteemed actor Sam Waterston emceed the event, and special guests included Byron Pitts, Marc Bouwer, and Barbara Walters.

Great video to watch.Here is the youtube link :-

Youtube link


Sunday, November 15, 2009

6th meeting of Jammu SHG

On 15th Nov, we had our 6th meeting of Jammu SHG. This meeting was attended by three members which started at 11 am and went on to 1:30 pm. According to the Photograph, starting from the left, it was Rajesh ,me and Aditya.



We started this meeting with a lil bit of Bouncing and Voluntary stammering.On our way to our meeting place ,We saw a guy sitting on a bench at a distance. Aditya went to him and asked him to take our photograph using some Bouncing or Voluntary stammering. This time Aditya was quick and confident.

Then we sat at our usual meeting place and discussed about stammering in our life. Rajesh said that today he has achieved so much in his life just bcoz of his stammering. He said that instead of being here, he would ve been somewhere else doing wrong things like most of the young people are doing for example taking drugs or wasting time & money by going after girls etc.And I totally agreed with him. Bcoz I think that stammering makes us much more Hard working, Determined and above all a kind hearted person who understand the pain of someone else.

Then we discussed about a movie called "front of the class". In this movie I learned loads of things that were even missing in "The unspeakable". This movie is based upon a true story of a Guy named Brad who is having Tourettes syndrome.
Tourettes is also a sort of speech impediment in which the person keeps on making funny sounds even when he is sitting quitely.They have shown a lot of emotions and struggle that Brad goes through .He wants to be a Teacher but gets rejected everytime he goes for an interview.
But he keeps on his fighting spirit and never lets Tourettes to win. After appearing for more than 25 interviews, he gets a job as a teacher in a school.And in the end, he gets an Award of "The best gifted teacher of the year".In his last speech he says that "I got support from My family,my school family,friends and my students. But My best teacher and constant companion was my Tourettes who taught me lots of things.I wouldnt have be here without my Tourettes".
OMG Brad and Rajesh are having similar kindaa thinking.

Then we called Sachin sir on his phone and talked to him for about half an hour(28:10 exact). Sachin sir motivated all of us and also cleared many of our doubts.We also talked to JP and Romi.Romi is from Mumbai and he came to samagra to work on his speech.
He is at the right place. Nothing can be better than Samagra ashram.

After that, on our way back, we once again asked a guy to take our photograph using bouncing technique. Then we started asking him few questions about stammering. But he was a bit confused and said that he had no clue why do people stammer. He was feeling a lil bit uncomfortable.So instead of explaining him why it happens, we thought to leave him alone. It really looked a bit strange to him . Three stammering guys standing around him and firing questions. It was a lil funny.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Movie Review

Ranbir and Katrina rocks.........Never seena bollywood movie showing stammering in this way.
At first I thought that only Ranbir is playing the role of a stammerer but then I came to know that Katrina is also a stammerer in the movie.
APKGK is a story of Prem(Ranbir kapoor) and how he falls in love with the pretty Jenny (Katrina Kaif). And it's the story of how Prem goes from being unable to express his love for Jenny, to finally finding the words to tell her he loves her.

Prem is an unemployed school drop-out who, along with the fellow members of the Happy Club (of which he is President), spends his time conning the local uncles into joining (and coughing up the membership fee to keep the club afloat), mooching meals from his frustrated father, and occasionally arranging an "abduction" (like the one that opens the film) in order to unite couples in true love. It's in the course of one such "abduction" that he meets the pretty Jenny. They become fast friends when they realize they both are given to stammering when overcome with strong emotion. Prem falls in love with Jenny, wants to ask her to be his life partner - but in true filmi fashion, he waits too long to do so.

There is a scene when Katrnia slaps Ranbir, as she feels he is stammering to copy her. But later on she comes to know that he is also a stammerer.So from here the love story starts.

I think this is the first movie in which both the Actor and Actress are playing the role of a stammerer. It was great to see that 1st time in Bollywood history someone has introduced stammering in a positive way and not just for making it a source of fun and comedy for people. Before this shahid also played thr role of a stammerer in Kaminey. But Ranbir and Katrina were better than shahid .

So overall it is a Good movie and all the stammerers must watch this movie.

5th meeting of jammu SHG

On 8th nov (sunday) we had our 5th SHG meeting in jammu.This meeting started at 3 pm and ended at 5:45 pm. Aditya was a little late but Rajesh reached at the venue on time.
It was also raining a lil bit at that time.Both of us discussed a lil bit about our experience of last week.

Rajesh told me that he was using the prolongation technique and slow speech very effectively. Then after about 10 mins Addy came and we started our session. We discussed few more techniques such as post,pre and In-block corrections.

Then we started playing some games that I learned from JP at samagra.After that we started a story telling session which was totally based upon our imagination.One of us was suppose to start the story by saying one or two sentences and then the next person had to use his imagination and start the story from where the other person left . It was really fun and we all enjoyed this.

Then Rajesh said that we should start speaking on a topic which triggers us to get more excited and stressed.Bcoz it is easy to talk casually and we are quite a lot fluent .But we suddenly start stammering when we get too much excited and stressed. So we started a different topic and the result was really surprising.
I started stammering and my speech got out of control. I was trying to implement the techniques but was not able to do so.My rate of speech also increased and was not able to control my breathing too. This was what R was trying to prove and he was right.
So next time we will try to have a small discussion on this kindaa topic and we'll try to control ourselves and our stammer too.

Then Addy told us about the latest movie "Ajab prem ki gazab kahani" in which both Ranbir and Katrina are playing the role of a stammerer. So this week I am going to watch this movie too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

4th meeting of jammu SHG

On 1st nov (sunday) we had our 4th SHG meeting in jammu.This meeting started at 4 pm and ended at 6:15 pm. In this meeting, there were 3 members(Aditya, Rajesh(new member) and me) .

First of all we started introducing ourselves.R is working in a finance company.He never got a chance to go for a speech therapy. So it was our duty to tell him about the few key points that would help him to manage his stammer.

R came to know about the Jammu SHG through a social networking site (orkut). So I visited his orkut profile to know a lil bit more about him.His profile was quite interesting but there was no Communities related to stammering in his community section.
So I got a hint that he is still hiding his stammer. So my main focus was to let him know the benifits of Accepting stammering.

Aditya and I focused on Acceptance for the first 1 hour or so.R also shared some of his feelings with us. R said that he is very ashamed of his stammer and that was the reason why he didn't joined any stammering community on orkut. He said that he just hated the word "stammer".
He was not having too much secondary symptoms. Then he told us that because he is working in a finance company, very often he has to speak the word "credit" and this was the word on which he struggles the most. The initial sound of kkkkk was the problem . So we started to explain him the techniques such as bouncing,prolongation ,light contact etc which would help him to speak the difficult words with ease.

We also told him about the importance Diaphragm breathing and slow rate of speech. I think that about 80% of our stammering goes away if we breathe properly while speaking and try to speak as slow as we can. The slow rate of speech wont be easy for anyone and will take sometime to get use to this rate of speech. It would be good if we keep on practicing this slow speech and implement it in real life situations .

In order to totally change his attitude towards stammering, the documentry movie "The unspeakable" by john paskievich is very important. So in our next meeting I am going to give him few documentry movies on stammering.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Controlling your Emotions

This is also one of the important aspect that can help us to maintain our fluency.

Just last night I was drunk and enjoying with ma cousins and friends.My speech was so fluent coz i was uncouncious at that time. I talked non stop for atleast 1 hour and didnt stammered on a single word. But due to this I got too much excited and stammered a lil bit on a word unluckily.And that was it.

One of my cousins started copying my stammering speech and makingfun of me. There were about 15 people over there and all started staring at me.Suddenly I became councious and that feeling of embarrassment came back and I felt like crying. But some how I managedto control maself and kept on talking without caring much about all of them staring at me.

That whole time from that party untill i reached home was like a nightmare to me. It was a time during which I didnt thought of anything else other then that embarrassing moment.It was the most embarrassing moment in ma life.It was just that single incident coming into ma mind again and again.But I know that i ve to face these kindaa situations in future too. Soi ve to be strong from inside in order to face these kind of embarrassing situations.

And one more thing was, that my cousins were also drunk and may be he didnt mean to do that (copying my stammer).

Anywayz, bcoz of this incident I am able to learn how to control our Emotions, bcoz they also play a vital role in our stammering.

So If you are also a stammerer or stutterer and if some one makes fun of your stammer and tries to copy your speech in front of group of people , you should just pass a smile and dont bother about this.Dont let these embarrassing moments to get accumulated in the Emotional part of ur mind. Just let it go.....!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

3 Mistakes that lead to Stutter


The path towards fluency may be rough, tough and difficult....but never impossible...

“It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away…” goes the verse from the famous song by the rock band “Boyzone”. Truly, communication plays a very important role today in our daily lives. People with strikingly good communication skills seem to win the hearts of people in society, and make a mark in their minds. Every classifieds in the newspapers coming from big multi-nationals, have “Excellent communication skills” as a requirement. Today’s is a competitive world, and the ability to ‘sell yourself’, has become a primary requisite, in the world wherein people are capable of selling peanuts for a billion bucks. I am a part of the same world, with challenges just a stretch more… It’s because I’ve been battling a battle against my words. Medically known as ‘Stammering’ or ‘Stuttering’, it’s a battle that is fought by billions of people round the country and the entire globe. And that’s a sort of consolation that it gives, that I am not alone in this battle. The million dollar question is – how we are going to win this battle, and climb the ladder of success, in this communication-driven world?

I was once asked why I stammer. I had no answer to the question that time. And if I ever had an answer, then I wouldn’t have been stammering. The causes of stammering as explained by medical science can be many. The therapists have many explanations for the factors leading to the condition. But, being a part of this battle, I can assert that, the real cause is the mind. You primarily stammer, because you think you will stammer.
People do have problems in this world. But most of those problems are being kept private. This is one problem that cannot be shielded easily as it is associated with the most important aspect of humans. The very aspect that separates us humans from the animals. Obviously, it would lead to many embarrassing situations, demoralizing the person, and consequently, affecting his or her whole persona.

Having lived with this problem over the years, I have realized many things related to the same. I have analyzed the problem through my experiences and my other friends with the same problem, and listed out three key things that lead to or aggravate ‘stammering’:

1. Hasty or fast speech: This phenomenon persists in almost all of the stammerers. In an anticipation that we would stammer, we want to get away with the sentence as fast as possible, because of which we tend to speak at a break-neck speed. This instead of aiding, worsens the problem.

2. Distorted or no breathing while talking: This is another reason many stammerers experience blocks while talking. There is no co-ordination between breathing and talking. If you observe a fluent person speaking, you will notice that he will always take a breath in, before starting to speak. We stammerers, are so concerned about stammering that we don’t bother to inhale before starting to speak.

3. Talking in excitement: This is a vicious cycle. Stammering or stammering experiences in the past, leads to excitement while speaking, which in turn leads to stammering the next time we talk.

Medical science has an antidote for everything. There are pain-killers for pain, and paracetamol for cold and fever. Do we have an antidote for stammering? Well, I would say ‘yes’. The antidote is ‘Will power’, and ‘Attitude’. In my quest for fluency, I have visited many therapist, and speech experts. I have received and tried loads of tips and techniques. I have realized that whichever techniques you may try, finally it boils down to your will power. You should have immense will power to do away with your faulty style of speaking, and dedicatedly follow the style that you think is right for you. The correct style can be realized by analyzing yourself with respect to your severity, external factors affecting your stammering, your strengths and weaknesses. And finally it’s the attitude with which you approach this problem that counts. The problem may well demoralize you, but it’s your attitude that gives you strength to come back strong and try again the next time. Brooding over the ugly situations of the past serves no purpose. But learning from the past is the key.

Finally, it always helps to have role models. The biggest role models for me have been the Bollywood star, Hrithik Roshan and Partha Bagchi. Both have been stammers at some point of time in their lives, and they overcame it. Somehow, it gives me hope that one can overcome stammering. If these people did it, so can I. The key to success lies in your own hands. And these great people have discovered this key and unleashed its magic. The roadmap towards fluency lies within us.

The journey towards fluency has never been a smooth ride, but a roller-coaster ride altogether. You have your ups and downs. But the goal is to be persistent in your ‘ups’. I’ve been battling with words for years. I may have won some battles, and lost some, but in the long run, I feel I am on my way to win the war.

written by :- Harish Usgaonkar

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stammer Sent Bruce Willis to Bullies


Bruce Willis was bullied as a child because he stuttered. The 'Live Free or Die Hard' actor developed a stutter at the age of eight and was teased as a result.

Bruce said: "I could barely talk sometimes. I still had friends but I was bullied a lot. The bullying meant I also learned how to fight. Everyone knew not to f**k with me because they knew they'd get their ass kicked."
Bruce discovered joining a drama club allowed him to express himself and by the time he turned 16, his stutter had disappeared when he performed. He said: "I was in a play and when I got onstage I stopped stuttering - I couldn't believe it. I realised that the reason the stutter stopped was because I was acting."
His speech impediment continued throughout high school. Bruce eventually enrolled in a New Jersey drama college, and his professors helped to cure his stutter completely.

Friday, October 9, 2009

An important observation...!!


Today I was interacting with some of the guests in a party. One of them asked me about the college from where I did my graduation.And believe me, i was not able to speak out the word "Rayat", thatz my college. I was doing "Rrrrrrrrrrrrr". So this means that I am having difficulty in speaking out the letter "R". I don't think so. I already spoke the word "R", so the difficulty was not with this word.

The main problem was the sound "A". Bcoz i already said "R"... but the rest of the word was not coming out i.e. "ayat".This means the problem is with the letter "a" and not "r".

So in order to overcome this problem , I am practicing by saying the rest of the word i.e. "aaaayat" again & again. And when i am comfortable with that word, just add "r" before that .So this becomes "Raaaayat".
There you go..........

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Why we dont stutter while singing..??

I posted this question on ISAD online conference .There are many experts who will write an answer to your question and clear your doubts.

So here are some of the replies I got from the Experts :-

1)Charley Adams said :-

We have lots of ideas about why people who stutter can sing without stuttering.

First, think about speech rate; if you listen to words in a song carefully, you will realize that they are produced much more slowly than they would be produced in speech. We know that dramatically slowing down your speech rate is a powerful fluency-inducing condition, so this is a partial explanation.

Second,many people who stutter can read aloud with greater fluency than they can speak spontaneously; singing is much the same, as the words are chosen for you.

Third, music has a more regular rythym than speech, which also tends to enhance fluency.

Finally, and perhaps most compelling, is that speech and language are processed predominantly in the left hemisphere of the brain for most people, while music tends to be processed in the right hemisphere. So in an important sense, you are using a different part of your brain when you sing, vs. when you speak.

2)Greg Snyder said :-

Singing uses different neural circuitry, which (apparently) bypasses the stuttered neural fault.

3)Ed Feuer said :-

Singing as in singing songs is communication neutral. Add a message in real-world communication and you have what these days they call a game changer. Van Riper had people who stutter go out into stores, singing their questions such as: "Do you have bananas?" etc. Very quickly blocks began to appear. The old adverse signal-to-noise ratio kicks in.
— Ed Feuer, edfeuer@mts.net

4) Klaas Bakker said :-

Singing differs in many ways from natural speech, and so any physical difference of singing could be part of the explanation of why you don't stutter (as much). When someone sings, or speaks in a sing songy manner, you may bypass some of the brain centers you typically use for speaking (I don't think people sing from the right brain entirely though). When you sing, usually much of the expression is in how you produce the vowels of your speech (they have a certain pitch, intensity and duration, while their stress is related to a rhythimical pattern). All of this could explain why there is less stuttering. Finally, often singing involves speech already formulated by someone else, so it comes from memory. However, if you speak in a sing songy manner, like you described, obviously you are still in control of that. These would be some of my first thoughts looking for an explanation. But any explanation would still need more research to definitely tell.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

International Stuttering Awareness Day.......!!!

International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) occurs on October 22nd and is designed to raise awareness about the challenges that people who stutter experience. ISAD is a joint endeavor by persons who stutter and their families and professionals (educators, researchers and clinicians) interested in stuttering. ISAD provides a framework for building a more humane, just and compassionate world for millions of people who stutter.

2009 presents many challenges that face people who stutter such as economic recession, job loss or anxiety about employment or personal fulfillment. It is vital to create a society, in which people who stutter can develop talents, become advocates for better understanding and become active participants in their future. This year in particular there are many conferences or workshops held around the world. It is an opportunity to take personal steps in changing: you can go to www.isastutter.org for a listing of conferences you can attend.

The online International conference has started on 1st october and you can participate in this conference by clicking here

The contributions in this conference reflect professional and consumer interests about stuttering and are presented by over 70 individuals representing twelve different countries on five different continents. Each paper also has a threaded discussion page for your comments and questions. By October 22, 2009, International Stuttering Awareness Day, the authors of the papers will respond as they wish. Feel free to post your questions/comments at any time and check back on International Stuttering Awareness Day for any response from the author.

So Guys and Gals, participate in the conference, read articles,ask questions,post comments, clear your doubts and spread awareness about stammering .After all its ur day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do you have the right mental attitude...??

Success is in the blood. There are men whom fate can never keep down they march forward in a jaunty manner, and take by divine right the best of everything that the earth affords. But their success is not attained by means of the Samuel Smiles-Connecticut policy. They do not lie in wait, nor scheme, nor fawn, nor seek to adapt their sails to catch the breeze of popular favor. Still, they are ever alert and alive to any good that may come their way, and when it comes they simply appropriate it, and tarrying not, move steadily on.

Good health! Whenever you go out of doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every hand-clasp.
Do not fear being misunderstood; and never waste a moment thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your own mind what you would like to do, and then without violence of direction you will move straight to the goal.

Fear is the rock on which we split, and hate the shoal on which many a barque is stranded. When we become fearful, the judgment is as unreliable as the compass of a ship whose hold is full of iron ore; when we hate, we have unshipped the rudder; and if ever we stop to meditate on what the gossips say, we have allowed a hawser to foul the screw.

Keep your mind on the great and splendid thing you would like to do; and then, as the days go gliding by, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the elements that it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought that you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual you so admire.

Thought is supreme, and to think is often better than to do.

Preserve a right mental attitude the attitude of courage, frankness and good cheer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jacobsen's relaxation technique ........!!!!

The Jacobsen relaxation technique - also referred to as progressive muscles relaxation - is a technique to manage stress. It was developed in 1920s by Edmund Jacobsen. He proposed that muscle tension goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, and by reducing the muscle tension, anxiety can be reduced as well. This famous method of stress control is used by many therapists.

You can follow Jacobsen's methods of handling and managing stress, and relax your muscles, right from the comfort of your home. Jacobsen's technique is basically a 2-step process, and involves relaxing and tensing various muscles. With continued practice, you will understand which muscles are directly linked to relaxation, and which have a close connection to stress and anxiety. You will also come to know which muscles you need to relax to overcome stress.

Deep breathing is an exercise that can be used simultaneously with the Jacobsen's techniques of relaxation. The primary concern of Jacobsen's relaxation technique is to tense and then relax the muscles at a point of time. Deep breathing can be performed while you inhale while the contraction of your muscles take place, and exhale while they are being relaxed.

You should take care that your clothing is comfortable and you should remove your footwear for better relaxation. Relax yourself, and take deep breaths. Try to think of ... absolutely nothing! Once this is done, you can commence Jacobsen's relaxation technique.

It is generally recommended to begin from the feet and move upwards. Start with right foot, then proceed to the left, and then to the calves, thighs and so on. Tensing and relaxing each muscle in turn. To gain the most out of this exercise, as you tense those muscles, also inhale steadily for about 10 seconds; and then slowly start exhaling as those muscles are relaxed. Continue doing this until they feel loosened up.
This process should be repeated on each muscle working your way right up the body to scalp; working with the muscles in your feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, stomach, lower back, biceps, triceps, hands, neck and face, i.e., from the bottom to the top.

Meditation - this simple ancient practice provides stress relief for many folks today. You don't have to be of any particular religion or be religious at all to do it. Just spend about 15 minutes a day in a quiet place to sit down, close your eyes, calm your mind, and focus on your breathing. You will feel refreshed and more relaxed afterwards.

Try using this technique every day for just one week and you will already begin to feel better. Make it a part of your life and you will manage stress quite naturally.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hrithik - A True Hero........!!!


Whenever someone used to say that Hrithik had a stammer, I used to think that may be he must have stuttered till the age of 5 or 6 and then with the help of some speech therapy, got over that...but this is not the case. What I learned in the program was completely different. Here is a man who is a Bollywood superstar, super busy and still works for one hour on his speech daily. When the host asked him, for how long did he had this problem, he said since age 6 to till date, which was really surprising to everybody. But he has accepted for what he is and has not stopped at that but has worked hard to achieve whatever he wanted to be in his life. He said he had no option, either he wanted to become an actor or die trying becoming one.

When the host asks him to share one of the embarrassing moments due to his stammer..he shares only one, but then continues with really amazing fact that he always wanted to become an actor; Whenever someone asked him what he wanted to become, he used to say a-a-ac-tor! So how can someone who can't say the word 'actor' did become an actor! The turning point in his life came when once while walking on beach, he saw a group of youngsters doing somersaults and he too wanted to learn it. He tried and tried and finally managed to do it after a lot of practice and struggle,and this thought struck him : Why can't he do the same with his speech!
Other than that he had all the experiences which any person who stammers has gone through..like not being able to order food in a restaurant on his first date. Once he was not confident enough to say the word 'Dubai' on stage while receiving the award for the movie-'Kaho na payar hai' and had to practice it for some time and as he said, finally took the "leap". Just compare his motivation level to any of us and ask yourself: are we ready to work so hard..Are we ready to let go of our lame excuses like shortage of time, family reasons etc.

I know I may be sounding too harsh or strict or preacher-like but thats what these are. How can one reach office or an examination center or to a cinema theatre on time even during rains but cancel their plans to go to self help group meetings to practice their speech goals due to the same? Just be true to yourself and ask what do you want out of life and go ahead and live your life the way you want. All the best!

Hrithik said that he started it right from the scratch like A,B,C,D..........so on. Then he used to practice all the sounds of every letter or alphabet. for eg : all the sounds of the letter A.(aaaaaaa,aaeeeeee,aiiiiiiii etc). After that he used to combine the letters and practice them. Like, if we stammer on the words P or B or T etc. then practice it like paaaaaaa,peeeeeee,poooooo,puuuuuu for P and similarly for rest of them also.

If someone missed that show, you can watch it on youtube. Here are the links :-

http://www.youtube.com/watchv=p7Bz_S1uBEA&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=rL51RXmZe6o&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=oxkMYBiUZ2k&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=ZgWyz52s8Hw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=syz3Heqf1OE&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=DkoAxHVleNg&feature=related

This post is written by "Jai Prakash Sunda".He is also a recovering stammerer and Co-ordinator of Pune SHG.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

3rd meeting of Jammu SHG......!!!

On 19th sep(saturday), we had our 3rd meeting of jammu SHG. The main objective of this meeting was to face our fears and the feeling of embarassment that we PWS go through.It is often seen that the attitude of a PWS and fluency in his/her speech, often depends upon the listener reaction to his/her stammer and what kind of facial looks(mostly weird) one gets when he/she stammers.We know that we are suppose to think in a positive way and dont let our emotions to control us.But it is really hard to keep on that positivity everytime we stammer and get a weird look.
This time also, it was only me and Aditya(the other pws in the SHG).At first we sat down and shared our experiences of the last week.we talked for about an hour. Then we started doing our tasks.
As there were only 2 members in the group and we wanted to have a photograph together.So we were in need of a third person who could take our photograph.So our first task was to request someone to take a photograph of both of us.This task was given to Aditya but the condition was that while speaking one has to use the Bouncing technique.We saw three gentleman standing at some distance and smoking. Aditya was ready to do some voluntary stammering by doing some Bouncing while requesting them.He prepared himself and we went to them.But at the last moment I dont know what happened to him and he forgot all of the bouncing technique. He just spoke normally to them. I think this was his first time , so he might be having that feeling of shame and embarassment in him. And here is the photograph :-






Then we saw few boys coming towards us . Once again Aditya was made to go to them and request them to take a photograph of both of us. He again prepared himself and once again he forgot his voluntary stammering and spoke normally. But I jumped in and carried on with my Bouncing technique and did voluntary stammering while asking them a few more things in front of Aditya so that he gets familiar to it.And yes , one of the boy in that group started laughing and mocking on my way of speaking. But nothing bad happened . We also started laughing and we told them about our stammering. But still he was laughing at us and was hiding his face from us . Once again we said that "We people also laugh sometimes on the way we speak and you are also free to laugh my frnd".At last that fellow said sorry to us but then I started laughing and told him to keep on laughing and there is no need to say sorry.After this we felt that there was no feeling of shame and embarassment in us. And that was the objective of this meeting.

After this we saw a french couple with their 2 very sweet kids. I didn't paid much attention towards them and went passed them . But when I turned back, Aditya was shaking hands with them.So atlast he was having that courage in him to talk to strangers, thatz good. I also went to them. The Guys name was David and they came back from srinagar just 2 days ago.They were here on a tour. That french guy was not knowing english and called his wife to interact with us. We told them about our stuttering and our purpose of coming here. We also solved some of their problems bcoz they were not able to find someone who can speak English. Although the french accent of that lady was very difficult to understand but some how we managed to interpret what she was saying and solved their problems.

At last we came out of that place. I gave one more task to Aditya. He was made to go to a shop and buy anything but he had to use that Bouncing technique . Finally ,this time he used the Bouncing technique and stammered voluntarily.

We had a lot of fun in this meeting and we also learned how to tackle with different reactions of listeners towards our stammering.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Important Exercises .......!!!

Here are few exercises for vocal cord :-

1) Deep Breathing (through Diaphragm)-- Inhale from your nose and exhale from your mouth. But slowly .

2) Voice modulation ( aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for 6 seconds eeeeeeeeeeeeee ... oooooooooooooo ....... uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu all at a higher pich .. than a bit lower and than only breathing and again slowly slowly go higher )

3) Vocal exercise ( Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapple .... Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelephant .... strech the staring sound of every word for 6 seconds and than without stopping speak out the remaining part of the word softly )

4) letters on which you stammer most
Ka, ba, ma, pa, sa,Ta
Like ka…….,kaa…….,ki………ku……….ke…..,ko……….

5) Counting exercise
Say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(1-5) in a breath (remember prolong 1st letter i.e v of one).you have to do counting upto 100 (1-5, 6-10….21-24, 25-28…96-100)

6) Slow reading practice ( Mmmmmmy naaaaaame iiiiiiiiiis Maaaanpreeeeeeet / iiiii aaaaam frooooooooom jaaamuuuuuu )

You can Practice each exercise for about 15 mins a day.

Some Important Techniques.......!!!

Important Techniques :--

Bouncing :- When ever we pws are stuck on a particular word, we always force the 1st sound of that word out of our vocal chords by breathing improperly from our chest or sometimes we even stop our breath and force the first sound of the word to get out of our mouth.This increases the air pressure in our lungs and we start getting out of breathe.So instead of doing all this ,we can stop just before the word which is difficult to speak and bounce(repeat the 1st sound) very comfortably,easily and without any stress. And when we feel that now the rest of the word is also coming out , just stop bouncing and speak that word starting again from the 1st sound.for example:- I always get stuck on the word starting from P. So if I have to say "My name is Pawan". Dont struggle and dont stop breathing in order to speak "Pawan". Just repeat the first sound very softly like My name is P - P - P - P -P-a-a-wan.Now here the repetetion of the word is not like as we always do . Just speak it softly .

Diaphragm breathing :- This is the most important one.Untill n unless you dont allow the air to pass through ur Vocal cords, you cant speak.We use this technique bcoz most of the adults have developed a bad habit of breathing from our chest.I found that all the babies breathe properly from theri Diaphragm or abdomen. So when ever we stammer or get stuck, we always start to breathe from our chest or sometimes we even forget to breathe. So just try to breath from ur diaphragm.

Prolongation :- Prolongation is a technique that is suggested in most of the speech therapies. In this we have to strech the first sound rather than Bouncing on it. Now in case of "Pawan" ,we can say it as Paaaaaaaaaaawan. Actually we have to strech the first sound but when we say "Pawan", there is always the P sound followed by aaaaaaa.

Light contact :- Also we people often get blocked on P sound bcoz our lips are not opening up or seprating out. So there must be a light contact of ur lips when we are dealing with sounds like P,B etc.And if you apply this light contact method then you will observe that After the 1st sound of P there will be the sound of "hhh" rather than "aaaaa" in Pawan.

Easy on set :- In this we have to strech every vowel sound that appears in a word. for eg : Paaaaaaaawaaaaaaaaaan, Iiiiiiiiiiindiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaa.

Cancellation :- This is used if in case we forgot to apply our techniques on a difficult or feared word.And we are stuck on that feared word.In this we have to stop in between our block on this word , take a deep breath and then start again speaking out that word but this time we will use our techniques and speak out that particular word with ease and light contact etc.for eg :- my name is Pa-a-a- . stop here. Take a deep breath. Then start with the technique with which you are comfortable. Like I am comfortable with light contact in case of P . so I wud say Phhhwan. You need not to repeat the complete sentence again. Just repeat the word on which you get stuck .

All these techniques should be practiced in the company of other human beings for best results. In other words SHG is the best place - instead of doing it alone.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Joe Biden and Demosthenes: A tale of two stammerers

I was inspired by a stunning parallel between Senator Biden’s remarkable life story and that of the ancient Greek orator Demosthenes.
Both were stammerers in their youth. Both were taunted for it with cutting nicknames–”dash” for Biden, since he left his words hanging with a dash; batalus for Demosthenes, which meant both asshole and stammerer.
But both defined themselves by overcoming this impediment, and thus turning their greatest weakness–speaking–into their greatest strength–oratory. Demosthenes went on to become the single greatest orator not only in Greece but in all of history. Statesmen from Cicero to Disraeli and Churchill looked to him for lessons in how to move a political audience with speech. Joe Biden, too, became an effective–and, if anything, a garrulous–senator and is now the vice president of US.
As always, it is how they overcame that is the story. Joe Biden’s story is all over the news. But you may not know Demosthenes’ story. Here is the brief version, as Plutarch tells it:
Once, after Demosthenes was once again laughed out of the forum of Athens for his slobbering, panting attempts at speech, he was walking in dejection around the port. An actor followed him and caught up. He asked Demosthenes to recite passages from Euripides and Sophocles. Demosthenes recited them. As soon as he stopped, the actor would deliver the same passage, but with full force and feeling, with gesture and emotion.
Demosthenes was so inspired that he built himself a sort of cave underground where he hid for months at a time, just practicing his speech. He shaved one half of his head, then the other, so that he would be too ashamed to come out. With laser-like focus, he stayed in that dungeon and worked on his tongue, his vocal cords, his gestures, his cadence, his logic.
Eventually he came out of his cave and set his hurdles higher. He recited speeches while running up hills. He went to the shore and orated against and over the breaking waves. When even that became easy, he put pebbles under his tongue and then enunciated over the roaring surf. Here he is, as the painter Jean Lecomte du Nou├┐ imagined him:


In time, he became the greatest orator, and then the greatest statesman, of his country and time, Athens in the fourth century BCE. It would be Demosthenes who roused the Athenians against the menace of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.
Were the early failures, setbacks and shortcomings of Joe Biden and Demosthenes impostors, in Kipling’s sense? Stammering, for Biden or Demosthenes, was not a liberating event, as failure was for Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, or Hannibal’s nemesis, the great Scipio. Their stammer was more like a gauntlet that life threw before their soul. Success in life can be about picking such gauntlets up and then going deep, way deep, to find the strength.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A good Segment on Stammering !!!

If anyone has not seen this yet…WATCH IT NOW. This is a good 5-6 minute on ABC about stuttering featuring Dr. Phil Schneider and one of his past students, Michael.

This is one of those segments of stuttering that does not focus on the miracle cures but a different way of approaching it.

Here is the clip :-

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4593755

I came to know about this from www.thestutteringblog.com

Our 2nd SHG meeting in jammu...!!

On 9th sep,2009 we had our second meeting and this one lasted for 2 hrs i.e. from 5 pm to 7 pm .In this meeting,we talked about some techniques like Per-Block,Post-Block & In-Block corrections.
After that we had a 'story telling' session. We have already planned all this a day before(on 8th sep) when Aditya(the other pws in the SHG) came to my place to get all the movies and videos related to stammering.We discussed some important things while watching some of the videos and we also decided that we will have a 'story telling' session in our meeting tomorrow(on 9th sep), where both of us have to tell a story to eachother.So from quite a few time I was preparing for a story of a movie called "If only". It was a very nice movie and after watching that movie I always used to say to myself that "how would I narrate this story to anyone if I ever got a chance to speak fluent....??". So I was having this story always in my mind and I was very excited about our 2nd meeting where I would finally get a chance to tell this story to someone, no matter if I even stammer.
After disussing about the Block corrections , we started our story telling session. We were suppose to speak slowly,with proper breathing,bouncing,prolongation etc. No matter how much time it takes us to complete the story, just be relaxed and speak slowly.So I started first and I think that I took about 20 mins in telling the story. Even though a normal person would have taken 10 mins in narrating this story but I was very happy with ma timing.Then Aditya started with his story of the movie "17 Again".He took 15 mins.But He was trying to speak at a slow rate of speech and thatz good.

Aditya says : " My 2nd meeting is slightly more intresting from first one.what matters is that you must use all the techniques in telling stories .On that day, I talked with manpreet for more than 15 minutes continuously . Next time I am not going to bother about time I take in telling story , but about the way I speak( using all techniques )".

Now in our 3rd meeting I m trying to invite some more pws and we'll try to do some tasks like asking the shopkeeper using bouncing or prolongation.I learned all this at Samagra and now I want each and every pws to try these techniques and tasks in real life situations.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An interesting visit to Vaishno Devi.....!!!

On 12th of September (saturday) I went to Vaishno Devi with one of my friend. My friend is a non-stammerer. Now for those who dont know about Vaishno Devi, it is a sacred place that is situated on the top of a hill. It is in Jammu and devotees from all over India come here for Mata's darshan (to pay respect). We have to cover the distance of about 14 km on foot to reach the Mata's Bhawan. Usually people cover this distance on foot and some aged people cover this distance on horses. We started our journey from Katra (The base of that hill) at 8 pm in the evening.
For the first 4 kms,both of us(me and my friend) were full of energy and excitement and didn't stop even at one single resting place . But after that, we were tired of walking continuously for 4 kms and it took us about an hour to cover this much distance. It is not that much easy as it looks . we have to go up the hill, so the roads are not perfectly horizontal. As we didn't had our dinner and the time was 9:30 pm ,we were really hungry and with no more energy. So we decided to have our dinner after 11 pm and to buy some chips for the time being.
Then we just kept on walking slowly and steadily. At 11 pm we went to a restaurant and had our dinner. The Bhawan was still 4 kms away from that place. So after having our dinner, we were full of energy once again and covered that distance of 4 kms with in next 1.5 hours. So at around 1 am, we were finally at Mata's Bhawan.There was a huge line of people who were waiting for Mata's darshan. So we also went in and had to wait for about 1 hour, standing in that line. Finally we were at the Mata's holy cave and I prayed for my stammer and also my future.

At 1:35 am we were done with the Darshan and started going back to Katra the same way we came. Now, when coming back downwards for 5 kms from the Bhawan, I asked my friend to sit and take rest some where . So we saw some vacant chairs in front of us and we sat there for about 25 mins. Here I started asking my friend if he had seen an english movie called "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" . He said "No ,I havent seen this one".

I told him that it is a nice movie based on a true story and he must watch this movie. Then I kept silent for sometime. Now during this scilence, I was thinking that whether I should tell him the story of the movie. But at the same time one more thought was coming into my mind and that was, as usual of stammer. I wanted to tell him the story but once again I was getting double minded due to my stammer. I thought that if I started to tell him the story ,whether I will be able to speak without stammer or not. Now this was also one of my fears to talk to a non-stammerer about the thing that I did in my past: Because I can speak fluently when I say the things that we speak normally at home or with friends and family. But when it comes to talk about something that has happened in the past, then I was having no second option but to just stop saying what I was trying to say.But this time I was knowing that it is the right situation to face my fears and time to test my speech techniques . So I chose to tell him the story. I started very gently and told him about Emily Rose and what was the main concept in this movie. Though I didnt use bouncing ,but I did use Prolongation, pausing and most of all deep breathing.Honestly speaking, Deep breathing was the important thing that was keeping my speech fluent.

After telling him this much, we stared walking again but there was still some part of the movie in my mind that I wanted to tell him. So once again I started speaking out and told him all the things that I wanted to say, but using a slow rate of speech and ofcourse Deep Breathing. And I was very fluent while telling him the story. Although he was observing and must be asking to himself that "Why is he Doing this Deep breathing again and again..?" , but I was not worried about what he thinks about me . I was just using my techniques and practicing those techniques in a real life situation. Thatz it .
At that time I felt that now I am able to deal with my Emotions and Fears. So instead of running away from it , we must go ahead and try to face it .
On the way back to home, he asked me "why did you went to Dehradun(samagra ashram)...??".
And I told him the truth about my stammering and about my speech therapy at Dehradun. But still he was not clear what I was talking about.

And after facing your fears you will feel that you have really eliminated or erased this fear from your mind.We reached the Bus stand at the base (Katra) at 5 am in the morning.And from there we took the bus to Jammu. And we were home at 7 am. And as we were very tired, we just removed our shoes and went to sleep .

Happy ending.........!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ma 1st meeting with a PWS in jammu

His name is Aditya.He also stammerers.He went for a speech Therapy course at chandigarh in 2006 and was fluent for about 3 months after that therapy.But then that stammer came back again.

I met him after I came back from Dehradun.I went to Dehradun for a 7 days intensive therapy programme at Samagra ashram.I was there from 16th of Aug to 23rd of Aug,2009.There I came to know, that it is very important to have a SHG(Self Help Group) in your own city bcoz stammering can't be cured in Isolation. So I started looking for some PWS in jammu .I searched on internet,social networking sites like Orkut,Facebook etc. Finally I was able to find 3-4 pws on orkut who were from jammu. And i sent them messages and scraps.But 2 of them replied to those messages and only one of them was really curious to do something in order to cure his stammer.His name is Aditya. He Has just completed his Engineering in IT this year.
We had a meeting on 2nd september,2009.This was our 1st meeting, so it was ma duty to Motivate the other person in the same way as I was motivated by Sachin sir and JP at Dehradun. I told him each and everything whatever I learnt at Dehradun.I told him about "Acceptance", to love ur stammer and dont be ashamed of ur stammer.I also explained him some of the techniques such as Bouncing,Prolongation,Easy on set,Slow rate of speech etc. Our 1st meeting lasted for about an hour.Then on our way back to home ,I told him that I have got some very good and interesting Documentary movies on stammering that I got from Dehradun. So if he wants those movies and videos ,I can bring those DVDs in our next meeting. This was just the starting of our 2 member SHG in jammu. I am hoping more PWS in jammu to join this group and help each other .

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Overcoming your fears........!!!

Usually most of the speech therapists only focus on some techniques like Bouncing,Prolongation etc. and that also in clinic environment. They make the stammerers to practice in their own comfort zones.But the real challange is to extend our comfort zone and face the new challanges which were just like a night mare for a stammerer.

So today Dr. Sachin took us to a Hospital today and we were made to come out of our comfort zone and face our night mares. At first ,we were made to talk to some patients or their relatives who were sitting in the waiting room. I was really scared at that moment. we were suppose to talk to them and ask them about their purpose of coming here and to also tell them that we are working on our speech.we talked to 6 to 7 people out of them 4 were ladies. I always hesitated to talk to any lady, so I was very much nervous at that time too. But after talking to them I felt that there is nothing like a night mare or what ever you call it. They were really understanding our problem and were very cooperative also.

The next task was to go and talk to the Supritendent of that hospital. When we went into the office ,I saw that the Supritendent is also a Lady.We talked to her and told her about ourselves and what ever techniques we learnt here. She was very happy and also said that the techniques that you pws are using must be used by every person bcoz it sounds so Cool and stylish. Then the 3rd task was to go to different windows at the hospital and just ask them something using Bouncing technique. And I think this was the best part of the day . We were enjoying bouncing and asking questions . So overall it was a gud experience .

Thanks to Dr. Sachin for making us to do these things and helping us in overcoming our fears.

What is Acceptance.....???

Since when I was a child ,I never realized that this stammering will cause me so much trouble in my future. Like when I went for any vivas ,I used to prepare for it very hard and my frnds just didnt bother about vivas.They use to say that we can just say what ever we want .Its just a kindaa interview.So just go there and say something and you'll get good marks.

At that time I realized that I was different from them.I can't just keep on saying anything ,bcoz it was difficult for me even to speak my name.So when the teacher used to ask me question during VIVAS, I was always knowing the answer to that question but I was not able to move my lips. So the teacher thought that Manpreet is not knowing the answer and She used to pass that question to the next person. I was just like a dumb statue there.Because I was afraid that if I gave the answer and I stammer, then all my frnds sitting beside me will make fun of me due to my stammer and I will feel bad about it. I thought that it was better to keep my mouth shut. Here I was doing the wrong thing.
I was hiding my stammer from all of them .And bcoz of this mentality, I always avoided to speak and stop attending even my family parties.

So Acceptance means that we have to Accept our stammer and in others words feel gud about our stammer and have a positive attitude towards it. The outcome of this is that our speech becomes effortless and quite smooth and There is no struggle in our mind and no two thoughts that shall I speak or not.

7 days intensive therapy programme at SAMAGRA ashram(Dehradun)

I just wanted to share my Experience at Samagra Ashram and a lot that i learned here.I learned to change my thinking about stammering and Accept my stammer. bcoz the only thing was that we dont accept our stammer and keep on hiding from and avoiding situations.There is no harm in stammering infront of people bcoz it is not a crime.It is simply something that GOD has given us and we must accept it with a positive attitude. Go out and talk freely with ur frnds and family and even strangers.Tell them about your stammer and dont be ashamed of stammer. The more you Accept yourself as a stammerer, the fast you will be able to speak fluently without much difficulty. So just change your Negative attitude about your stammer and change it into a positive one. You will automatically observe change in urself and your speech. This is not an overnight cure but It is an efficient cure that will actually work. try to be happy about your speech and yourself.

There are also some techniques like proper Diaphragm breathing ,Bouncing,Prolonging. You can use these techniques voluntarily in front of people and if they in turn laugh and ask you that "Do you stammer", just laugh or give a gentle smile and say "Yes mam/sir I do stammer and do you know anything about stammering ? How it occurs ? etc." . Ask them about stammering and if they dont know, just tell them what actually stammering is ?

Also dont let ur emotions to take control of you. just move one step ahead of your Emotions.bcoz there is no place for emotions in this world.All the world cares about is your success or your failure. so it is totally upon you whether you want to succeed in ur life or you want to lay back and cry on ur faliures. This was what I learned at SAMAGRA. Overall it was a gud experience . And I am already on my way to change Myself.

My Experience......!!!

As u knw that there is no 100% cure for ur stammer. So we can not say that he/she is an ex-stammerer. Although we can overcome this problem atleast 98% or 99% in some cases also.
Stammering is 80% psychological and 20 % physical. So the 80% psycological cure is for sure and the remaining 20 % depends upon ur speech muscles and how we can control them occasionally.
This 20% physical cure can come by practicing the techniques like Bouncing,Prolongation,Easy onset,Cancellation or whatever u ve learnt. But just believe in what u do. The most important factor in this physical condition is "Slow rate of speech". If u try to control you speech and speak slowly ,then out of this 20%, u have cured 15%.

The 80% psychological cure can come by "Accepting" that u stammer.Remember "Acceptance" is the only way with which u can cure ur 80% stammer.It means that we need not to hide our stutter.Just go out and talk about our stutter to anybody openly.Stammering or stuttering is not a crime . So what are we hiding it from. It is something given to us by GOD, so why to hide it.All these points again point towards Acceptance. So that is the key.

Bcoz when u Accept that you stammer and are not ashamed of it, the internal struggle that always keeps on emerging in our mind is eliminated and now u have no fear to speak out something even in the difficult situations.Believe me ...I have tried this thing and with in 1 month I am observing something gud in ma speech and that is fluency.

So the choice is urs........ all of you can do this and just try to put all these techniques in ur day to day life. Even if u stutter at the initial stage , you shouldn,t be ashamed of it. Just try to control ur emotions and walk one step ahead of ur emotions.

A perfect example of controlling ur Emotions is :----
It is often observed in stammerers that if today they were able to speak fluently with some person in a difficult situation, they will feel very gud and will be happy on that particular day.And if, on the next day they stammer a lot even in an easy situation ,they will feel very bad and think that why GOD gave this problem to me and there whole day goes very depressing and unhappy.Now here ur Emotions are controlling you. But you also know that this stammer is not ur fault.It occurs at odd times when no one is expecting it. So to control ur stammer, u need to control ur Emotions first.And just act normally when any of these situations occurs and try to tell urself "that atleast u spoke and completed ur sentence". Bcoz a non-stammerer can never be so courageous and dedicated as far as our speech is concerned.

So just cheer up and say it to urself that "if so many of the stammerers are able to gain flueny , why can't I.....???"

You can and you always will..........just try this........