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The Stammering Community

  • 01-09-2009 12:59pm
    Registered Users Posts: 462 ✭✭

    Why is it that the deaf and blind communities are thriving with great websites, numerous events, large participation numbers, funding...while the stammering community is lacking in all of the above!!! :(
    What do people think???
    One thing that baffles me is the lack of participation by stammerers in self-help groups...I run the Belfast Self-Help Group and get numerous emails from people asking about the group...yet they never show up!!!
    Are you one of these people who come on to stammering wouldn't mind a bit of support/help with your speech...but you are either afraid or embarrassed to make the first move???


  • Registered Users Posts: 31 "V"

    I agree Paul, as i attend a selfhelp-group and find it a great help, but i can remember how petrified i was going to my first meeting. So i think there should be more open days or social outings were it might be easier to encourage more people to attend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 462 ✭✭Paul4As

    Hopefully this Stammering Awareness Day on 17th October helps to raise the importance of self-help groups!!! Things are definitely going in the right direction on that front...from only having a Dublin self-help group a few years ago there are now 5 or 6 groups on the go!!! As you say "V"...what about a social outing...for all the self-help groups...or groups in kinda the same region of Ireland!!! That is something that can be discussed at the Awareness Day!!!
    The Irish Stammering Asociation is also organising stammering workshops/an open day in early 2010!!! Can only help too!!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 44 Charlie_Boswell

    What I think is different is that there is no common or accepted approach to dealing with a stammer, everyone's stammer is different, or that's how people perceive it. If you take something like hearing loss there is a common approach to dealing with that. With stammering there is so much of the iceberg under the water it is difficult to know where to start.

    I have to admit I've often thought about going to one of the support groups but to be honest, based on my experience of online groups the mood always seem to be negative and its sometimes difficult to stay positive and motivated about staying focused on what I need to do.

    I've often thought about suggesting an online group using skype or something similar but never really committed to following through on it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,891 ✭✭✭Stephen P

    It baffles me as to why stammering is dealt with differently than other "disorders" within Government bodies. Perhaps its to do with the fact that stammering isn't offically considered a disability?? In my opinion and experience people who stammer can be in denial. I myself used to think "ah it's not that bad to go to a self-help group", or "I'm at an age now where I wouldn't go for theraphy". I was in my mid 20's before I did anything about it. Up to that point I NEVER heard of the Irish Stammering Association or any of the courses that were held, apart from the Maguire Programme, buts only because of Gareth Gates, actually I tell a lie I saw people from the Maguire Programme strap belts around their chest years and years ago on the Late Late Show.
    It bugs the crap out of me that there's not enough awareness of stammering. Awareness Day's are not enough! My number one reason to petition for this forum in the first place was to raise awareness and I hope it has done that, or it's on its way to do it. People have become complacent and rely too much on modern technology. People's attitude is why go to a self-help group if at the touch of a button I can access a tonne of information on stuttering? Social networking has taken over people's lives. I'm a Facebook junkie, I can access it on my iPhone anytime same with Twitter. People have lost touch with reality. While on one hand social networking is probably the best thing to come out of the internet, on the other hand people don't communicate with others through the old fashioned way of one-to-one. That's what needs to be addressed and hi-lighted at Awareness Days and through other channels. I don't know what else can be done? Something which I think should be considered is a sub-committee of the ISA that can consist of one representative from each of the self-help groups, this sub-group could meet quarterly and discuss ways to promote the ISA and self-help groups.
    I put an idea forward before on this forum for an outing and got no replies so I don't think that would be a runner. I'd be all up for setting up a stammering sports club or something similiar. Once a month meet for a game of football, pitch and putt, bowling...whatever...
    If there was enough interest it would work.

    My God that was some rambling I did :D
    To finish, what needs to be done between now and Awareness Day is to garner as much support for it as we can!

    BTW, I'm going to be taking photos on the day of the Awareness Day and I'll post them up here afterwards to show everyone exactly what goes on.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,757 ✭✭✭bohsboy

    Stephen, you have done great work in setting up this forum and fair play to you. Im actually surprised how quiet it can be in here.

    I attend a self help group myself with three other people in a catchment area of about 100,000 people! If stammering affects 1% of the population that means there has to be 1,000 people stammering in this region, it beggars belief that there is not more of a response.

    I think the main reason is fear, we can all understand how difficult it is to make that first step and for a lot of people, some never do. The Awareness Day has been a great achievement in doing something to bring it to the attention of the population but I agree with you, more must be done.

    Thats what the forum is here for, we need people to throw out ideas for meet-ups or encourage participation either here or at some sort of function. The Skype idea for example is good.

    The relief people can feel when they can share a common problem with someone who knows how they feel can be a great help.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 366 ✭✭sadie9

    The reason why some people don't show up at Stammering self help groups is that most people are ashamed and hate their stammer. So when it comes to it, it is hard to discuss it.
    However, that's the whole point of the self help groups - that people do not have to cope in isolation. And to highlight awareness of the issue so that it becomes more 'normalised'. Then we all won't have to feel so ashamed of our 'problem'.
    The reason why sometimes the online discussions are kinda negative, is because when people are at rock bottom then they turn to the online sites for advice. People generally don't come on and report when they are going through a good patch.
    In the self help groups, generally the mood is generally very much lighter and there is a lot of humour as well.
    The unfortunate thing about human nature is that at times when you need support most, is the time you least feel like interacting with others. So going through a bad patch, you vow to do something like to go to a support group, then the next week you might feel a bit better and say 'hey I don't need those guys, I'm doing just fine on my own'.
    So it's important to point out that supporting and attending the self help groups, your contribution may provide valuable support to someone else, not just yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 462 ✭✭Paul4As

    To be be brutally honest I believe that the lack of people seeking help for stammering is the reason there is no proper stammering community!!! Is the government gonna give thousands or even millions to the stammering cause due to the fact that 10 or 20 brave and determined stammerers are demanding it!!! I don't think so!!!
    Because of the lack of courage by a good number of stammerers in coming forward to ask for therapy...and so making the government realise "Oh maybe we need more speech therapists...maybe we need to put more money in to residential courses"...our voice in campaigning for greater awareness is small!!!
    That is not to say 10 or 20 tough campaigners can't make progress!!! Progress is being made in Ireland!!!
    One serious note to be made to any stammerer out there who needs help or thinks therapy would be good for them...yet are too afraid to make the first is too short...are you gonna hide behind parents, live life as a recluse, avoid certain situations all your life??? Take the plunge...get support!!! You will feel a lot better for it even if things don't work out!!! You can at least said you tried!!! I'll guarantee you you will get something out of it!!! :)
    As Del Boy would often say "He who dares wins!!!" Apologies to any female stammerers out there reading that!!! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭pog it

    Paul I welcome your posts asking why people don't turn up to these self-help sessions to speak about their problem, but why do you need to ask if you run such sessions?

    Why do you think these people don't show up?

    I need to ask you again- if you dont understand why people don't show up then you don't understand stammerers very well. Surely you aren't a recovered stammerer/recovered from a speech impediment or a sufferer?

    I agree though. We need a publicity campaign all over Ireland spearheaded by a well known and well liked person probably, with a helpline advertised everywhere to get people to talk to people like me who have recovered and who can offer advice and their stories about recovery.

    To anyone reading this- have faith. You can cure yourself of this problem, you really can so never give up. Feel free to PM me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 462 ✭✭Paul4As

    Pog...I think I have a fair idea of how most stammerers think...after all I have a stammer myself!!! Though as you know not all stammerers' stammerers are the same...hence not all their thoughts and feelings about stammering are gonna be the same!!! Hence opening up the thread to the stammering community on this forum!!!
    As mentioned..I have a stammer...but I don't "suffer" from stammering...I try to embrace it...see it as a challenge...expand my comfort zones...say what I want to say whether I stammer saying the words or not!!!
    I'm gonna have a stammer for the rest of my life like most adult stammerers...we just get on with life and enjoy it!!! :)
    Nobody gives a toss whether you stammer (my workmates, family and friends don't!!) I try to take that perspective on board a lot of the time!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭pog it

    That is true definitely- people don't care, well apart from the small minded of course! The same people who would have little or no empathy for anyone but themselves and aren't worth worrying about!

    Well I do think you can cure yourself- and you will get there. The first breakthrough for me was not caring what the other person thought when I was talking-- also I gave other people too much respect- a devil may care attitude really helped me. If I did stammer at the beginning of this thought process, usually in a phonecall- I would just say, bear with me, and then get on with it. It worked- and I'd say to others not to worry what other people think when you are talking. 100% just focus on your thoughts- not the words. And get really and truly into what you're saying- picture it as a picture.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,891 ✭✭✭Stephen P

    @pog it, as a matter of interest what speech therapy program(s) have you done? And also what would you "technique" be if you encountered a block?
    I don't don't believe there is a cure, maybe in the future there will be but not at the moment. There's nothing wrong with thinking that you're cured maybe that's the best way you can deal with it? Do you honestly believe you are cured? Cured to me means you NEVER stutter any more. Not caring what people think is not a cure. I take each day as it comes and more importantly each sentence. If I stutter in a sentence so what! I've come to terms with it. If people get annoyed waiting for me to finish my sentence ... so what? Let them wait, if they value what I say they will wait until I finish.
    There's lots of different reasons why people don't go to self-help meetings. I don't go all the time because of other commitments. There is only one self-help group in Dublin and thats in the city centre which can be difficult for people to get into. If you've had a rough day in work the last thing you want to do is go to a meeting in town. From my experience of going to the meetings, you would see someone people every week and then others maybe once every 2 months or so, they're obviously not afraid to go to the meetings, maybe they're working, tired, etc... my point is that there's a whole host of reasons why people don't go to a self-help meeting, apart from being afraid to make the first step.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭pog it

    Hiya stephen- I have copied and pasted how I ended up being cured from it, and trust me, I am completely recovered and I am cured-- for 4 years now :) And please God it is that way for the rest of my life.

    Like I said elsewhere I am 99.9% perfect-there is the odd time I'll slip but it is odd and I can live with it. I agree with you on one thing you said there, complete and utter recovery would seem to be impossible.
    BUT you can get damn close. Feel free to pm me. If you want to practive talking on the phone or anything, I'd be happy to chat to you. That was one thing that I did. I made a tough call. I was lucky in a sense as you will see below but it was also 3 YEARS of positive and a certain mental attitude.

    Now how I got cured:

    1. I stopped giving a **** what people thought of me
    2. I stopped giving a **** what people were thinking when I was speaking and stammering
    3. I realised I had just as/ and more interesting things to say than the person I was talking to
    4. It came to a peak. I was in a job and every day I was getting back into being more and more paranoid about what I was saying, it got to a stage where I was only speaking when I knew it would come out fluently! And I was holding back otherwise
    5. After a few months of this job and this situation, I went for a month on my own travelling all over Holland and it was such an incredible massive relief to be away from that tension that when I came home something happened!
    6. When I came home I had to make a call about my new job and I drank a couple of small glasses of absinthe to take the edge of the nerves off.
    7. The call went well. I don't know, after that I was okay. It was a bit of a miracle and I thank God for it every day

    1-3 steps took longest though. Like I say I started adopting the devil may care attitude when I was around 19/20, so it did take 3 years.
    But looking back now maybe it's a good thing.