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The Stammering Pride

The Stammering Pride
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By: Amit Singh Kushwaha

Yes, I stammer. My first experience with a speech stammer came while I was in class V at Kendriya Vidyalaya. I still don’t get why or how this occurred. A life-altering event occurred that day. The real fight of life began after this. I now began stammering repeatedly.

I started to withdraw from everyone, whether it was in class or while playing with friends. I used to sit in the back during any school-sponsored cultural programs or speech contest and wished I could participate. Even though I knew the right answer to the teacher’s question, I was still required to offer the incorrect response, which was when I knew it to be wrong. Even stating my name was really challenging.

My parents gradually came to understand my stammer. My father once took me to a pediatrician in a public hospital. The doctor informed my father that you must be reprimanding this child there, which caused him to stammer. I began blaming my father for my stammering from that point forward. I once went to a temple with my grandmother and prayed to cure the stammering.

Life was getting incredibly difficult and depressing because of the stammer. Since I was young, I have had a connection to writing. I began penning stories and poems for newspapers when I was in eighth grade. I desired a career as a TV journalist. I stammered during my interview for admission to the media program, and I was also turned down there. Only desperation and negative ideas could be heard in the background due to this stammer.

I went to a professor in my college after receiving my degree in commerce and asked him if I should pursue a career in special education. Then he declared that you can depart without a doubt. Speaking is not required to instruct the deaf. I decided to enroll in the B.Ed. Special education programme because I thought this concept was interesting. My stammer did not stop me even at this point, but it was increasingly causing more issues. I used to have the idea that if I had a lot of money, I could go to a metro city, get my stammer cured, and be totally cured.

Following that, I began looking online for stammering treatment centers. I looked up some experts’ email addresses on Google. That was mailed. A reply from a gentleman arrived the following day. Yes, stammering can be eliminated, but only with a lot of effort, was his response. He used to direct self-help programs for persons who stammer. Everything was free here.

I became aware that there is no miraculous treatment for stammering once I joined this group. Stuttering is not something we have to battle with. Accepting stuttering and using specific speaking strategies might help someone become an effective communicator. Stammering is a social issue rather than a personal one, and it can be resolved by interacting with people. By practising by yourself at home, stuttering cannot be cured.

I needed a lot of time to process all of this. Even now, I stammer. I’m pleased and relieved that, despite having a stammer, I can accomplish all the tasks that, up until now, seemed insurmountable. In addition, it is a proven truth that adhering to the fundamental principles of communication is important for effective communication. Fluency alone won’t make you an excellent speaker. I once felt ashamed of my stammering, but now I take pride in it.

International Stammering Awareness Day (ISAD) is celebrated on October 22 worldwide. The day is designated to bring up public awareness of the issues faced by millions of people – one percent of the world’s population – who stammer. In India too, millions of people are confronting the challenge of stammering. It creates trouble for education, interpersonal relationships, social activities, and finding employment. Our society recognizes that every individual must speak fluently.

Stammers are isolated and many times judged incapable of jobs and marriage. The community is giving advice to people who stammer likewise, speak slowly, breath repeatedly, and develop self-confidence. This kind of advice does not assist them and makes their life more complicated. The need of the hour is that people should accept stammering as human diversity and accept it extensively. If you face any people who stammer, listen to them patiently, give time to speak, and do not make any assumptions about it on the basis of stammering. Exclusively equal opportunities and full participation may empower people who stammer in society. At the same time, the people who stammer should frankly accept stammering and talk to more people and remove the fear of stammering.

(The author is a rehabilitation professional and a freelance writer based in Madhya Pradesh. He can be reached at amitsk68@gmail.com)

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