Stammering in India: A note by Kamal

Stammering is not an unusual problem amongst kids. Many of the first born male children are victim of stammering problem. Scientifically speaking, it is a predominantly male problem. Almost 75-80% of the stammers are male and most of them have got this because of some sort of family history of stammering. On an average, it starts before the child reaches the age of five and most often than not, stammering reaches its peak in the age range of 10-18. Having said so, it requires immediate attention and parents should treat this issue with utmost priority.

So what exactly is stammering and does this occur every time a person speaks? Answer is No! when a kid stammers while speaking, he always knows what he wants to say but the speech process is not always a smooth flow of words that’s why many a times, stammers sing perfectly without any hem-haw because they know which word is coming next whereas in conversation they suffer through cessation of speech sound. Stammering affects a child more severely on the psychological level because of accumulated fears. Peer pressure also plays a role in robbing him of his confidence and shyness.

The problem with stammering is the fact that it’s not a disease and therefore no medications for it are available. It becomes a habit. The stammering child just has to unlearn stammering and needs to develop a new way of speech. The new way involves speech fluency building techniques. Many therapeutic techniques are available and parents must seek professional guidance to tackle this problem. Parents must encourage the child to face this problem and never hide it. That way, child will gain confidence even with problem and stammering gets much more improved when the kid is in a relaxed emotional state. Lesser stress means speaking with greater control and authority.

 

Special thanks to Kamal, who wrote this pieces of info. You can find his other blogs at http://parentingindianchildren.blogspot.com

An introduction: What is it?

Stuttering (alalia syllabaris), also known as stammering (alalia literalis or anarthria literalis), is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, and involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the stutterer is unable to produce sounds. The term stuttering is most commonly associated with involuntary sound repetition, but it also encompasses the abnormal hesitation or pausing before speech, referred to by stutterers as blocks, and the prolongation of certain sounds, usually vowels and semivowels. The term “stuttering”, as popularly used, covers a wide spectrum of severity: it may encompass individuals with barely perceptible impediments, for whom the disorder is largely cosmetic, as well as others with extremely severe symptoms, for whom the problem can effectively prevent most oral communication. The impact of stuttering on a person’s functioning and emotional state can be severe. Much of this goes unnoticed by the speaker, and may include fears of having to enunciate specific vowels or consonants, fears of being caught stuttering in social situations, self-imposed isolation, anxiety, stress, shame, or a feeling of “loss of control” during speech. Stuttering is sometimes popularly associated with anxiety but there is actually no such correlation (though as mentioned social anxiety may actually develop in individuals as a result of their stuttering). Despite popular perceptions to the contrary, stuttering is not reflective of intelligence.

Stuttering is generally not a problem with the physical production of speech sounds or putting thoughts into words. Apart from their speech impediment, people who stutter may well be ‘normal’ in the clinical sense of the term. Anxiety, low self-esteem, nervousness, and stress therefore do not cause stuttering per se, although they are very often the result of living with a highly stigmatized disability and, in turn, exacerbate the problem in the manner of a positive feedback system (the proposed name for this is ‘Stuttered Speech Syndrome’.

The disorder is also variable, which means that in certain situations, such as talking on the telephone, the stuttering might be more severe or less, depending on the anxiety level connected with that activity. Although the exact etiology of stuttering is unknown, both genetics and neurophysiology are thought to contribute. There are many treatments and speech therapy techniques available that may help increase fluency in some stutterers to the point where an untrained ear can not identify a problem; however, there is essentially no “cure” for the disorder at present.

A note from the author

Its been many days since I have started this blog to help stutterers, however sometimes I feel as if I’ve been running out of ways. From now onwards, hence I have decided to stick to collecting pieces of articles from others sites about stuttering, and post them on this blog. I wouldn’t call this piracy, since my aim is to create a universal blog about stuttering, its cures and effects.

STREAKS OF LIFE

We all acquire certain streaks of nature throughout our life. These may be just human evolution or may stem up from real life personal experiences. What are streaks of life? Well it may just that newly acquired anger your close friend just told you about, or that adventurous craze about world trips, trekking, skateboarding what not! The case is a bit more complex in case of stutterers I guess. Stutterers have like an innate ability of concealing (or in some rare cases, even expressing freely) their emotions. This results from a several years of suffering due to the stuttering problem.

Humans are born happy and curious. Nature along with evolution has programmed us to enjoy from the beginning of our lives. If you take a simple case of a young child, you will find that he or she will laugh or enjoy continuously for long periods of time. However this fun tends to subside along with growing age, being slowly replaced by anger, sadness and a host of other emotions. Emotions, that can make someone blissfully happy or utterly sad, have a powerful effect over us. Humans are prone to emotions. A simple joy can make us happy for hours, while the same case occurs for sadness. Though emotions slowly evolve from happiness to anger to seriousness over the growing years, the teenage years are the ones which have a powerful effect on the mind and body. I might sound a bit philosophical, but have patience with me. Coz these are the times when I have a streak of enlightenment. Stutterers on the other hand face a lot of problems over the teenage years, since they are physically unable to speak properly. You can get the dictionary meaning of stuttering here [link]. While normal teens have the capacity to express their thoughts freely, be it anger, happiness, sadness, joy or a variety of emotions, stutterers have to struggle severely in these times. Due to their inherent problem, their emotions get tongue tied, and as a result get absorbed in their minds. These results in a constant build of emotions, waiting for a pent up release. The release of emotions can either make one happy or just the opposite. However, I would not advise any stutterer to pent up his or her emotions. Coz that would just make you terribly unhappy (and also look like some sort of filmy character!)  If you are in high school or college, it would be good for you to take up a cool look. And yes, do find a way to release your held up emotions bit by bit. Find some hobby, take up some adventure, do something fearlessly. Just don’t wait for the catastrophe to happen; catastrophe referring to the liberation of emotions in case of stutterers. It might just make you more depressed in the future and also now.

Long story short, live every moment of life and enjoy it. Be fearless; coz u might (hope not!) stutter for a long time and it might be good help to start conversing now onwards. Try the local shops, or the librarian, or various other characters of the world.

Streaks of life occur in every stage of our life, and it seems to happen frequently in the teenage years; just take in your new found nature, utilize it to your best and try to make it a part of your awesome life.