My name is V…V…Vivin Joy. If memory serves me correctly, I was a normal enthusiastic child who just started going to a school in Bangalore. I had loved going to my class and enjoyed the presence of my class teacher.
Suddenly when I came back from school one day, my mom noticed something different, I was speaking with a lot of difficulties. I tried to speak very fast from my early childhood and also used to get a lot of nose blocks due to my allergy to dust. It’s not sure if these factors caused me to stutter, but it never went away.
Suddenly when I came back from school one day, my mom noticed something different, I was speaking with lot of difficulty…
A few years later, my parents got transferred to Coimbatore. I loved every part of my life in Coimbatore and little did we know that we were going to settle there. I got into one of the good schools there and was among the top two ranks in my class. But I had a major problem, I was afraid to speak up in my class nor even dared to stand up and say my name with confidence.
My teachers knew about this problem since it was pretty evident and they cared for me. It was left to my discretion whether to take part in reading exercises and would be completing most of my sentences. I felt everything was going well. My friends did not mock about my stammering and I kept away from those who did.
I came among the top 100 ranks in my State and joined PSG college of technology. My speech was far from eloquent and my sentences were broken when they came out of my mouth.
I realised the importance of speech only after I joined college. I was not able to actively participate in the clubs, due to my fear of exposing my stammering. I tried a lot of tricks to hide my stammering, due to added peer pressure.
I was able to socialize well with my classmates, but my stammering was hindering me from going ahead. It would be in the back of my mind all the time and most of my time was concentrated on finding ways to hide it and cope with it in future situations.
My speech was far from eloquent and my sentences were broken when it came out of my mouth. I realised the importance of speech only after I joined my college.
Little did I know during my childhood that it was going to affect my life so much. I was not able to speak what I wanted in meetings. My mind would constantly switch words in the middle of my sentences to prevent the block. This would result in the poor formulation of my sentences.
I felt ashamed when my colleagues would complete my sentences or even say my name for me. I was not even able to order the food that I like and would mostly choose the food which I could say properly.
I grew out of my fear of hiding my stammering, however, I never had a solution for this monster. I took the full ticket on the bus when I could not say the name of the bus stop that I wanted to get off at.
I had attended many speech therapies but they would give me comfort only for a week and their techniques never helped me in real life.
I decided to join a speech programme called the Mcguire Programme. This was introduced to me by my Uncle.
This program was unique in the way it approached the problem. The most remarkable thing about this program was that it was run by stammerers from the top to the bottom. They knew the psychological problems that we undergo and are proof of the veracity of this programme. They inculcate the idea to strive for eloquent speech rather than fluency. This helps us to stay honest and show others that we have a stammer, but at the same time helps us to speak what we really wanted to convey with confidence and assertiveness.
It’s been a few years since I have been with this programme and with a lot of hard work and perseverance, I became a coach on the programme to help others.
Of late, I have been able to smash my fears and give public speeches too.
Of late, I have been able to smash my fears and give public speeches too. I joined a toastmasters club to refine my speech techniques.
For me, stammering is a result of bad habits which gets accumulated over the years and spreads from one speaking situation to another. Students with stammering should be monitored at an early age and their teachers/parents should guide them to get rid of these bad habits. This could be done by asking them to repeat the words which they say pretty fast in a confident manner.
They should be made to realise that it’s not the normal way of speaking and we need to speak with no tension over our articulators, face or body. If we notice such a situation, we need to ask them to repeat it until they utter with clarity. We should not protect them from speaking situations, but rather make them face more such situations.
Most importantly, they should not be ridiculed, but rather treated with patience and respect. This trait is something I find lacking among Indians. I would love to bring more awareness related to stammering to schools and that’s my motive for the coming years. We need to help people understand that there is a solution and that we are never alone!!
We need to help people understand that there is a solution and that we are never alone!!