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FAQ

1) WHAT ARE THE CAUSES FOR STAMMERING :

The answer is being searched by quite a lot of renowned physicians and speech therapists in the medical field, all over the world, for the past many years.

So far, the exact causes for stammering have not yet been found out. It is believed that the possible cause could be combination of Physical and Psychological related one. Through sustained research, the scientists have found many evidences to support this theory.

Generally most of the stammerers are found to be carrying their speech difficulty from their childhood onwards. If the theory of ‘psychological factors’ such as fear and shame are said to be the only reason for stammering, this would not apply in the cases of children who  stammer from the childhood.  Because, small children would not be having any fear or shame at such young ages for fear of speaking.

They can look down from the great heights, touch fire, go nearer to any animals, cross the busy traffic without any fear, to name a few examples to show that children are not have any fear.

Children wouldn’t have shame also. They can go anywhere without any dress, do some activities without any hesitation, where no adult would dare to do such activities.

So children wouldn’t have any fear or shame. Then, the theory that the cause for children’s stammering is due to psychological factors wouldn’t hold good.

But about 50% of the stammerers are found to be due to heredity factors.  Either their father or their forefathers were stammerers. So, it is evident that some genetic factors could also be the contributing causes for stammering.

In view of the above, it can be said that the causes for stammering are Physio-Psychological one. But after the children grow up in to adolescence and adults, fear, shyness and shame could become a predominant cause for stammering though the physical (neurological) at the time of birth still persists with them.

To overcome this stammering problem, both the physical treatment (speech therapy) and psychological treatment (changing the mindset and the attitude towards stammering) have to be given simultaneously.

2) IS STAMMERING CURABLE :

This is a very tricky question to answer. There is no doubt that 99% of stammering can be overcome by practicing proper speech therapy generally for a period of about one year. Then they are called "Recovered Stammerers."


To completely cure the stammering, the Stammerers needs to put more efforts and hard works for a further period of two years. That is, they should continue speech therapy for at least 30 minutes a day, speak more in public forums, speak about his "Recovered Stammering" in the media, help other stammerers like conducting weekly meetings etc to cure 100% of their speech problem.

“Curing” stammering is not just the elimination of stammering part alone. It involves changing of one's existing personality into a new one like changing his breathing pattern, use of more body languages including head movements, changing his attitude and mindset towards stammering, etc..

In short, a stammerer will become an entirely new person after curing his stammering which will require sustained speech practice with 100% motivation and hard work. This kind of dedicated hard work may be naturally possible only for about 15% to 20% stammerers.

These kinds of activities are really tough and time consuming ones. But considering the quantum of real life benefits they are going to get it in future, doing these kinds of hard works is worthwhile.

Considering the involvement of the above said hard works, only about 15% to 20% of the "Recovered Stammerers" will become “Fully Cured Stammerers”.

3) WHY GETTING RID OF FEAR AND SHAME ALONE IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME STAMMERING:

Readers are requested to read the above first article before reading this one.

So it's clear that getting rid of shame and fear alone is not sufficient. The stammerers need to address the physical part of the problem too.

Moreover, their ‘speech mechanism’ becomes defective, because of ‘wrong usage’ due to stammering and ‘under usage’ due to restricted speaking.

To correct the ‘speech mechanism’ and to bring it back to its normal condition, proper speech practicing needs to be carried out.

4) WHY “ACCEPTANCE”, “CHANGE IN MINDSET” AND “ATTITUDE TOWARDS STAMMERING” ARE ALSO REQUIRED APART FROM SPEECH PRACTICING TO OVERCOME STAMMERING:

Generally Stammerers wasting most of their energies on how to hide their stammering rather than focusing on how to carryout the given work / task effectively. To their dismay, soon they find themselves the fact that they could not hide their speech problem even for a few minutes.

One must understand that the stammering speech by stammerers is not their fault. In fact, they also do not know why they are stammering. But still they always carrying the stigma of fear, shyness and shame whenever a situation arises where they need to speak. Because of this, they always find themselves under pressure, for no fault of theirs.

If the stammerers always carry this kind of “emotional baggage” with them, they would neither be able to concentrate nor be able to perform well on any given task. This results in a failure of completing their task even though they are more competent to complete it than others.

Speech therapy will be more beneficial and more effective only when their mind is free from negative thoughts, fear and shame.

So, stammerers are advised to whole-heartedly accept the fact of ‘existence’ of their speech  problem without any fear or shame. The stammerers are advised to practice the speech therapy  continuously  for a period of at least one year to overcome their stammering issues effectively so that they can lead a normal life and to face their day-to-day situations with more confidence.

5) WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL MISTAKES STAMMERERS ARE DOING WHEN THEY ARE SPEAKING:

Compared to normal speaking persons, stammerers are having some physical defects either by birth (default) or due to their stammering speech over the years. Following are some of the noticeable defects.

 1. Stammerers are generally shallow breathers. Sounds are formed through the vocal cord while air is coming out from lungs through nose and mouth. Since the stammerers are shallow breathers, they blocks on a particular sound, due to insufficient air in their lungs thus they are unable to complete the word. Hence, they have to become deep breathers so that even if they blocks on one sound, they would be able to complete the word with little bit of stammering with the remaining air in the lungs. To become deep breather, they have to practice breathing exercises.

2. Stammerers are not utilizing their speech mechanism fully while speaking. Most of the time when stammerers begins to talk, they exert enormous pressure on their vocal cord. Because of this, the muscles of the speech mechanism become tougher which results the words are not  coming out smoothly. Even if stammerers speaks well sometimes ( without stammering), the words coming out of their mouths were not so sharp and clear, compared with those that of normal speaking persons. This is due to less / under utilization of speech mechanism by the stammerers. Exercises are needed to make the speech mechanism more flexible so that words comes out easily and smoothly with less efforts.

  3. The stammerers seldom uses their body languages while speaking, especially head movements. All the normal speaking persons usually move their heads gently while speaking. While using body languages, it is not possible to stress or strain the other parts of their body. One of the main reasons the Stammerers getting blocks while they are speaking, because they tend to strain one or more parts of their body. If they practice head movements, they would definitely stammer less.


  4. Stammerers never pause while speaking. They always tend to speak without proper pausing at appropriate places. They should understand that pausing is required for thinking on what sentence to speak next and time for inhaling air into their lungs.

6) IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERCOME STAMMERING IF A STAMMERER'S SECONDARY SYMPTOMS ARE ELIMINATED

No, it is not possible. Because the root cause of any secondary symptom is due to stammering and not vice versa. If a Stammerer is successfully able to control /overcome his stammering, the accompanying secondary symptoms will also automatically reduced /vanished.

7) WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR ONLY FEW STAMMERERS WERE SUCCESSFULLY ABLE TO OVERCOME THEIR STAMMERING:

The following are the main reasons:

1. Very little awareness or no awareness  either by a Stammerer or by his parents about stammering. Most of the parents are of the opinion that stammering would go away when he grows up.

2. The parents seeing stammering as tip of an iceberg only. They were unable to understand their stammering son's inner emotional feelings and assuming stammering is not an issue at all. 

3. Due to changing lifestyle, parents are giving more pressure to their children to score good marks in school, get a seat in one of the best colleges and get a good job and got no time to give much importance to the stammering.

4. About 10 parents of stammering children met this author in the past 2 years. This author taught them about what was stammering, how to deal with their children etc. He had advised them to have constant contact with him either over phone or meet in person once in 2 or 3 months to review their children's speech progress. But no parents neither phoned nor turned up in person after their first visit. In fact, all of them were very well educated and fairly rich also. 

4. Since not much SLPs (Speech Language Pathologist) are available in India, the parents generally took their stammering child to an ENT specialist. After checking the vocal cord of their child, the doctor would inform that the child was not having any physical problems and advised them to meet a SLP. Since, SLPs are available only in big cities that too with limited numbers, most of the parents stopped the treatment at that point itself. 

5. Most of the SLPs in India are not Ex-Stammerers unlike in western countries. So, they couldn't able to read a Stammerer’s mind what kind of emotional problems they are undergoing. Most of the SLPs were not addressing Stammerer's emotional issues. Instead, they taught speaking slowly with prolongation technique combined with breathing control exercises which they are calling as "speech therapy."

The Stammerers after practicing this kind of speech therapy for a few days found no improvement and discontinued it. Generally one year follow up have to be made with the Stammerers. But most of the SLPs stops following up with Stammerers after 2 to 3 months.

The Stammerers  those who have got more motivation by birth, capable of doing hard and sustained work over longer period of time are only able to successfully overcome their stammering.

Only a very few hard working persons achieved greater heights. This analogy can be applied  to a few successful Stammerers also. This is a natural gift given by the God to a few Stammerers only.

The above are the main reasons for only a few Stammerers are successfully able to overcome their stammering.

8) WHY MANY STAMMERERS EVEN AFTER KNOWING THE TECHNIQUES AND AVAILABILITY OF SUPPORT GROUPS WERE NOT ABLE TO OVERCOME THEIR STAMMERING?

The following are the reasons:

1. There is a saying that "Doing small, small things over a longer period of time is the toughest one."  Likewise, doing speech practice for about one year is really a challenging and tough task, which requires lot of motivation and hard work.

2. It is a general human nature to achieve his wishes with least efforts. Likewise, Stammerers are looking for easy ways to overcome their stammering, which unfortunately has not yet been discovered so far.

3. As most of the Stammerers are not accepting their stammering and carrying on always so much of fear, shame and emotional baggage with them, they will never talk about stammering with anyone either at their homes or at outside also. Because of this fear and shame, they are not having enough courage to practice speech therapy at their homes in front of other family members even though they know how to do it.

4. Lack of sufficient knowledge about stammering among Stammerers themselves. Because of the lack of knowledge, he has chosen a wrong method /technique and practiced for a sufficient period without any success. Since there was no progress in his speech, he became disappointed and discontinued it and will never try for second time.

5. Some Stammerers are even afraid of stammering in the self help group (SHG) meetings and avoiding attending further meetings. Two stammerers both are about 35 years old have attended Chennai SHG meeting once due to compulsion from their parents as both are unmarried. Both are severe stammerer. Both had spoken minimum only in the meeting and both never attended any of the subsequent meetings. SHG meeting is the most comfort zone for Stammerers to stammer freely without any fear and shame, but they were ashamed of speaking there too due to fear and shame. If they continued to attend the weekly meetings 2 to 3 months, by this time they would have became moderate or even mild Stammerers. There are many such Stammerers who are afraid of speaking at SHG meetings because of fear and shame, not attending subsequent meetings and preferring to live miserable stammering speech throughout their life.

6. Some Stammerers who are really interested in doing speech practice, unable to do so due to their office and family circumstances. A couple of Stammerers , who  always used to attend Chennai SHG meetings a year back, were not  coming these days because they have to take care of their newly born babies. And another Stammerer has to take care of his sickened wife. A third pws who got a job, has no time to practice because he has to work hard to earn money and pay back the educational loan that he borrowed from a bank.

There are so much of unexpected pressures waiting in the life for every Stammerer to face it one day or another. Even if a Stammerer wants to practice sincerely in those above pressure situations, it is really tough, because  free mind is required to practice effectively.

The very ideal time to get rid of stammering for every Stammerer is when they are studying in colleges. A Stammerer will get  lot of free times apart from annual vacations during college days. At least they can overcome their stammering before marriage. After marriage, overcoming stammering is really a tough one due to many family commitments.

This author knows a couple of Stammerers who after overcoming their stammering are now became big businessmen. That much of power are hidden with every Stammerers. Since Stammerers are having so much of hidden power, why should they live very ordinary life just because of poor communication problem.
Instead, they can spend one year time for practicing, overcome their stammering and live as a millionaire.

9) WHY A STAMMERER SHOULD ATTEND SELF HELP GROUP (SHG) MEETINGS:

To effectively overcome stammering, the Stammerer should carry out two activities simultaneously. One is getting rid of their fear and shame due to stammering and the other one is  practicing speech therapy.  For getting rid of their fear and shame, attending SHG meetings are most important. That is the only platform where all Stammerers stammer freely without any fear and shame.

After attending first meeting, every Stammer started realizing that they were not alone.  They can see many such Stammerers like them.  Initially, they will be having fear and shame in the first few meetings. After started attending few meetings, they will be gaining confidence and their fear and shame started vanishing away gradually.

Though practicing of speech therapy has to be carried out at their Stammerer’s living place, it is in the SHG meetings where they can review their speech improvements by comparing with others speech improvements. Moreover, generally one year period is required to overcome stammering, it is very difficult for Stammerers to maintain the same level of motivation for practicing one year without attending SHG meetings.

In view of the above said reasons, attending SHG meetings is very important one for all the Stammerers.

10) WHY BODY LANGUAGES INCLUDING HEAD MOVEMENTS ARE VERY IMPORTANT:

Stammerers are getting blocks in their speech due to tensioning of their vocal cord, speech mechanism and blocking of outgoing air from their mouths whenever they speaks. That is Stammerers  are not relaxing while they are speaking. One of the main reason for stammering is Stammerers are not using extensively their body languages like head movements, hand movements, face expressions etc. They are always keeping their bodies in a stiff conditions, not relaxing themselves and thus blocking out going air. It is not possible to make their body stiff, if they are using  body languages. It can be very well noticed that all the normal speaking persons whenever speaks are extensively using their body languages.

To support the above theory, Pl click HERE to watch Mr.Bill Gates interview how he was using his body language.

Hence Stammerers are hereby advised to use their body languages at the maximum possible extent. Initially, they may find it difficult to use their body languages. To start with, they can use their head movements while listening songs and while listening others speech. Then they can use their head movements and hand movement when they are speaking to others.

11) WHAT IS THE BEST TIME FOR A STAMMERER TO OVERCOME HIS STAMMERING?

It is very difficult to answer which is the best time for a Stammerer to overcome his stammering. Of course, earlier is the better. But there some are natural and practical difficulties which prevent Stammerers from overcoming stammering.

For those stammering children up to the age of 10 years, they may not have fear or shame and will not give much importance or may not understand to any kind of speech practice. Even after entering to high school, due to their immaturity and lack of motivation, they won’t practice speech therapy. They started feeling their fear and shame due to stammering, only they enters 10th or plus two in schools. Because of parents pressure of scoring high marks, to get admission in good colleges, the Stammerers have no time to practice even if they willing to do so.

After getting admission in the college only, they really start worrying about their stammering. Because, they have to give presentations and seminors. In the final year also, they have to prepare for campus interviews. Simultaneously, the Stammerers also having fear of facing the interviews especially in the group discussions.

After getting jobs, Stammerers may not find time to practice speech therapy even if he willing to do so. Now a days, the work pressure is much more compared to couple of decades ago. Especially in the software field, sometimes they have to work round the clock to fulfill important commitments.

Then after marriage, they will be having family commitments also. Hence no time for practicing speech therapy.

From the above, it can be well observed that the first two years of college life is the most ideal time for Stammerers to overcome their stammering. In that period only, they will be having less study pressure. Apart from this, they will get annual vacation also. This is the appropriate age (below 20 years) to overcome stammering.

At Chennai centre, one final Engineering stammering student used to come five days in a week. In just five months, he completely overcome his stammering. Still he is coming for practicing mock interviews and group discussions, as many companies are coming to his college for campus interviews from the end of September 2014 onwards.

In view of the above reasons, the best time for a Stammerer to overcome his stammering is before 20 years of age. In this age, they can easily overcome stammering in about six month’s time.

12) WHY MOST OF THE STAMMERERS ARE STAMMERING ON THEIR NAMES?

Stammerers are always having “Starting Problem”. It is very difficult for a Stammerer to open a conversation with a new person to whom he has to introduce himself by first telling his name, which he invariably stammerers. By stammering on his name to many strangers over a longer period of time, his name will become “Feared” word for him.

Some stammerer may think that because of this present name only, he was stammering. But it is not so. Any Stammerer will stammer on his name, even if he changes his name, he start stammering on the new name. Suppose one Stammerer name is ‘Rajesh.’ He may think that if his name is ‘Mahesh’, he won’t stammer. For argument sake, if the Stammerer changes his name to ‘Mahesh’ then, he will stammer on the name ‘Mahesh’ and may not stammer on ‘Rajesh’ afterwards.

13)WHY LESS AWARENESS ABOUT STAMMERING?

The main reason for less awareness of stammering was because of Stammerers.

Yes, the stammerers alone are responsible. Normal speaking persons definitely can not understand & also may not know what kind of problems especially emotional turmoil that all the Stammerers are facing in their day to day life.

How could normal persons understand our problem unless WE explained to them.

It's believed that 1% of the world population are stammerers. From my experience, in that 1%, hardly about 2% alone are able to control / overcoming their stammering.

I am not going into details why the remaining 98% of the Stammerers were unable to overcome their stammering. Already I explained many times about it. So, enough is enough. But I would like to discuss about a couple of points here.

1) I know a few stammerers for many years. But they are still afraid of uploading their voice messages in whatsapp group because of their fear & shame which I could not understand. This is the forum for them to stammer comfortably without any fear..

2) Similarly, majority of Stammerers even while speaking to their close friends, colleagues, always trying to hide their stammering every time as if others didn't know about their problem which is also surprising me.

Ok, let's come to ther main topic. As stated earlier only 2% of Stammerers were able successfully overcome their stammering. That's we can assume only 0.02% of the world population are recovered Stammerers. Those recovered Stammerers alone have to create awareness about stammering which falls in the voluntary / social activity category.

Who else will create awareness for us?. It's our problem... Our headache.... We only have to find a solution for this.In that 0.02% recovered Stammerers, how many of them are ready for this kind social work? Not even 10% of the above 0.02% which is very small numbers. Then, how come the awareness will reach to the public?

Most of us are unable to overcome our stammering. Always afraid of speaking even with our closed ones. Always avoiding speaking situations.

Under these circumstances, where they will get guts and courage to talk about their problems with others?

At least TISA has come to our rescue now fairly to some extent. TISA is more active now a days. In many cities, TISA members are creating awareness about stammering. This is mainly due to tireless work being done by Dr. Sachin and a few like minded TISA members.

The only solution to create awareness is first we have to overcome our problems and talk about stammering with others. Or at least even having with the existing problems, we have to create awareness. But it requires lot of guts and courage which is very short supply now.

We should not expect others (including government) to create awareness for us.

We have to first understand that this is our problem and not others.